women's heart health

When you think about heart health, you may not think about any gender differences in symptoms or treatment. Most doctors don’t, so why would patients? However, women don’t always experience the classic symptoms of crushing chest pain that we expect from tales of men’s heart attacks. Sometimes, they may be bothered with back or jaw pain, fatigue or nausea. Occasionally a woman might attribute her discomfort to heartburn and delay emergency treatment for a heart attack. Moreover, other symptoms might include shortness of breath, dizziness or even fainting. What should you know about women’s heart health?

One Woman’s Story:

Robin Oliveira had experience as a critical care nurse, so she expected that she would recognize the signs of a heart attack if she had one. Instead, though, her heart attack caught her completely by surprise. Listen to her tell how it happened and how she survived.

Focus on Women’s Heart Health:

Dr. Mark Menolascino is adamant that women are not just like men, especially when it comes to heart health. Critically, he points out the shortcomings of simple cholesterol numbers when it comes to predicting heart attacks and describes the 20+ measures he prefers to use instead.

Why is inflammation the main thing to consider, especially for women’s heart health? How do you detect it? More importantly, what can you do to control it? We discuss a healthful diet and active lifestyle as ways to keep our hearts healthy. Dr. Menolascino also describes the interventions he has found helpful and adopted from traditional Chinese medicine.

How Do We Assess Medications for Women’s Heart Health?

We need a metric to tell how much medications such as hormones or statins benefit women’s heart health. One way to evaluate is to consider the NNT (number needed to treat) and the NNH (number needed to harm). Dr. Menolascino describes the simple statistics behind these measurements. In conclusion, we consider how women can improve their own health.

This Week’s Guests:

Robin Oliveira is a former registered nurse who specialized in critical care, cardiac care, and Bone Marrow Transplant. She lives outside of Seattle, Washington on Cougar Mountain. She is an author and writer, whose most recent novel, Winter Sisters, is now out in paperback from Penguin Books.


Dr. Mark Menolascino has over 35 years of health care experience. He is Board Certified as an Internal Medicine Specialist, Board Certified in Integrative and Holistic Medicine, is a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner as well as Board Certified in Advanced Hormone Management and Anti-Aging Medicine. His medical knowledge is complemented by advanced training and clinical experience in nutrition, naturopathic medicine, Chinese medicine/acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine and homeopathy. Dr. Menolascino is the author of Heart Solution for Women: A Proven Program to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.


Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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Air Date:June 8, 2019

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  1. george m.
    West Virginia

    I am now being examined for the mild symptoms this article discusses. I went to doctor to investigate a tick bite, and during the visit I mentioned recent changes such as lack of energy, tiring easily. Even from short walk of 1/4 mile to mail box I have to stop and rest to catch my breath. Tests at office show some possible heart damage but will be seeing a cardiologist for further work up. Key here is paying attention to changes which have no apparent reason for cause. Too often we wait until a major issue rushes us to the ER.

    I feel the anxiety of the pending news and expected to have this emotional reaction. I can understand why a person who survives a heart attack can get into a deep depression. The depression can prove almost as life-threatening as the medical issue. Challenge will to live. In my cause this hopefully is caught in time and will be resolved.

    • Terry Graedon

      George, we trust your doctor is checking the possibility of a tick-borne disease as well as a cardiovascular cause. Good luck!

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