During the Women of Wellness luncheon, Dr. T.J. Trad, cardiologist, answered questions from the audience. There wasn’t enough time to get to all of the submitted questions at the event, but we’ve followed up with him for answers:
Q: As a cardiologist, why is the new heart and vascular institute important to you and your patients? It will provide us with more space to take care of more patients, since the demand for cardiac care is greater than what we can currently provide. The second available cardiac catheterization lab is especially great news.
Q: If you could tell women who don’t have any symptoms a few basic things they should do to avoid heart problems and ensure early detection of these issues, what steps would you have every woman take and at what age? 1. Adopt the Mediterranean diet
2. Get moderate exercise for 30-60 minutes every day (no days off!)
3. Do not smoke or be exposed to secondhand smoking
These are things women should do at any age. Some signs to watch out for include change of breathing capacity during physical activity, shortness of breath at rest or with minimal exertion, swelling of the legs, palpitations, any type of chest discomfort, and dizziness/fainting.
Q: What are some basic heart tests we should have done annually? For women over age 50, a lipid profile should be done annually. Other screenings done as needed should include a triple vascular screen if the patient has any history of tobacco use and a cardiac calcium CT score if the patient has family history of coronary artery disease. Patients may need these tests sooner if they have significant risk factors. Consult your physician for the best course of action.
Q: At what level does cholesterol become dangerous? Total cholesterol should not be greater than 200. LDL, which is the bad cholesterol, should not be greater than 124 if the patient that does not have diabetes, or greater than 100 if the patient does have diabetes. HDL, which is the good cholesterol, should not be less than 40.
Q: What age are women most likely to have a heart attack? Women are usually at the greatest risk for heart attack after menopause.
Q: Please show me where the heart is. Sometimes I have pain but am not sure if it’s my heart or something else. See the diagram below. If you are experiencing pain, please visit with your physician.