I have to admit, sometimes I’m a little worried when I see all the publicity and awareness about breast cancer. Certainly I consider breast cancer a significant threat. As an integrative doctor, specializing in women’s health, I’ve seen enough patients battling this disease to know this first-hand.
But as bad as it is, breast cancer is not the biggest killer of women. Heart disease kills more women than any other disease. In fact it kills more women than all cancers combined. And it kills more older women than it kills older men.
Unfortunately, not enough women take this threat seriously enough. While it’s slowly gaining more recognition, it’s not on our radars… and it’s not on enough physicians’ radars as well.
As one of my colleagues, a thoracic surgeon with a great sense of humor, said in a speech I recently attended, “I wish doctors would stop giving women the bikini treatment, focusing only on breasts and reproductive organs.”
Indeed, there’s a lot more of you in between that needs care. Chief among these parts of your body is your heart.
How To Give Your Heart Some Good, Healthy Love
Now, certainly some women have the odds already stacked against them if they have a family history of heart disease.
But for most of us, protecting your heart is a matter of lifestyle changes.
Eat lots of veggies and fruits to get lots of fiber and antioxidants.
Move your body – sweat!
Take care of your emotional health. Minimize stress and maximize your relationships.
You’ve probably heard this advice but I’ll repeat it. Because here’s the thing that you may not hear from your doctor…
No medical intervention – surgery or drugs or special medical devices – none of these can fix a broken heart.
Sure, we can patch things together a bit to help your heart limp along. But it’s not the same as having a healthy heart.
And here’s another story you may not hear very much about. Many of these interventions may even make things worse.
Several studies have shown certain statin drugs offer no benefit to women at risk for heart disease. And there is some evidence that it may even increase women’s risk for heart attacks and death.
In 2012, the Archives of Internal Medicine published a study showing that statins increased the risk for diabetes in post-menopausal women by 71%.
I’m not saying this because I don’t value the technology western medicine offers. I’ve seen firsthand how conventional medicine can save lives.