The Doctor Is In:
Women’s Heart Health Month

February is Women’s Heart Health Month.  According to the Mayo Clinic, more women die of heart disease than men each year. Heart disease symptoms in women can be different than men. Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year. Let’s tackle women’s heart health so we can save our mother’s, sister’s, daughter’s and girlfriend’s lives.

What is Heart disease?

Coronary heart disease is the most common form of heart disease. It is a disorder of the blood vessels of the heart that can lead to a heart attack. A heart attack happens when an artery becomes blocked, preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart.

What are the risk factors? Read on….


ladies whd

Risk Factors for Heart Disease – these habits increase the chances of developing a disease or having it worsen:

  • Smoking- There is no safe way to smoke. Once you quit after 1 year your heart disease risk will drop by more than half. According to the Mayo clinic smoking is a greater risk factor for women than men.
  • High Blood Pressure- 140/90 or higher is considered high. But even prehypertension 120-139 over 80-89 raises your risk of heart disease
  • High Blood Cholesterol – Cholesterol travels in the blood in packages called lipoproteins.
  • LDL is Low Density Lipoprotein (BAD CHOLESTEROL) 160 or above is high less than 100 is OPTIMAL
  • HDL is High Density Lipoprotein (GOOD CHOLESTEROL) less than 40 increases your risk for heart disease 60 or higher is protective
  • Overweight/Obesity
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Diabetes – Type 2 is the kind most commonly found in adults who are overweight
  • MENOPAUSAL WOMEN – Estrogen plus progestin therapy INCREASES the chances of developing HEART DISEASE.

Read more: The Doctor Is In: Commitment Day!



According to the American Heart Association most women mistake the signs of a heart attack for flu-like symptoms, acid reflux or aging. Symptoms of a heart attack in women can be:

  • Neck, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual fatigue

Read More: The Doctor Is In: What is Healthy Eating.. EXACTLY?


prevent heart disease

So what can you do? Here are 4 easy things you can do to reduce your risk for heart disease:

  • Eat Healthy
  • Exercise 30-60 minutes daily
  • Quit smoking or better yet, never start
  • Take your prescribed medications properly for high blood pressure, high cholesterol etc.

Read more: 10 From GEM: 10 Baby Steps To Health and Fitness


Ladies, it is time for us to take care of ourselves first. If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, please immediately seek medical attention. If you recognize that you have any of the risk factors please speak to your physician about how you can lower your risk for the #1 killer of women in the country…. HEART DISEASE.

If you need motivation, inspiration or more information please remember, don’t hesitate to Ask Dr. Renee.

Dr. Renee

Dr. Reneè Matthews is becoming a leader in the healthcare industry. She has spent the early part of her career as a medical educator for Public Cord Blood Services and as a radio host for XM Radio Reach MD, a programming source for health professionals.

In addition to being featured in Ebony Magazine’s health spotlight, Ask Dr. Renee, Dr. Matthews is the contributing health blogger for Good Enough Mother, a leading community dedicated to moms providing advice and exposing the myths of motherhood. She is also a contributing writer for BlackDoctor.org and health blogger for Examiner where she is reporting on health news and health care. In addition to her columns, Dr. Matthews has often appeared as a lecturer before various organizations.

Dr. Reneè earned her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University. She earned her Medical Doctorate in 2005. Dr. Reneè is a member of the National Medical Association and Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network. Dr. Renee is especially passionate about addressing the health concerns of women and has been recognized by patients and professionals alike for her ability to translate the challenges patients face into tools and solutions they can use to improve their health care. Check out her website, her Instagram, Facebook page, Pinterest, and follow her on Twitter at @AskDrRenee.