What specific health information should a woman know?
Every woman should know whether or not her serum lipids are within a healthy range. That means a cholesterol, total cholesterol below 200, triglycerides below 150
and very important, an HDL level above 40 at the very least and an LDL level now we would like to see below 100. So it's 200, 150, 40 or above and finally LDL levels of below 100.
Those seem to be good values for starting out. And if those lipids are not within that range, then a woman should ask her physician how she can make them healthier,
either due to medications, dietary changes, or exercise or weight loss or all of the above.
The second thing she should know is whether her body mass index, which is the ratio between her height and her body weight is optimal for health.
And around 21 which is the ideal body mass, she can be pretty sure she doesn't have a risk from weight at least for coronary artery disease.
Once she has established good nutrition, an exercise regime that she can do at least 3 or 4 days a week, even if it's only walking a few miles a day,
and knows that her serum lipids are where they should be, she's pretty well prepared to go to the physician and maintain these healthy lifestyles.
If she smokes, she should stop at once. There is no such thing as one cigarette a day not hurting you. A cigarette reduces coronary blood flow by 20%. Nobody wants to see that one cigarette,
and nothing irritates me more than the doctor who says to the patient, one cigarette a day won't hurt you.
Women are more deeply addicted to nicotine. They are much more likely to develop lung cancer as a result of smoking than are men,
and it is probably the most significant personal lifestyle factor, which is a risk factor for coronary disease and there is no excuse for smoking. None. It should be stopped.
It's a terrible thing to do to yourself, and many women use it for weight control unfortunately. Just the way women don't take their insulin before a great event in their lives
like their child's wedding, so they can lose weight, it is a harmful thing to do.
So, facts and optimal lifestyle are the things to carry into your physician. Ask your doctor if he or she understands that coronary disease is not the same experience for men and women.
And if the doctor poo-poos that, I suggest looking for another doctor, or at least handing them one of the many books, both written for the lay public and for physicians themselves,
on female experience of coronary disease. It is really quite different and it is important to know that.