Women’s hearts are different. They go through dramatic changes during pregnancy and menopause, they may send peculiar distress signals during a heart attack and, compared with men’s hearts, they are more likely to weaken and fail after a heart attack.
A woman can benefit from heart care that responds to her special needs. That is why the Cardiovascular Care Center at NorthShore University HealthSystem has established the Women’s Heart Program, whose goal is improving women’s heart health through awareness and action. The medical director of our program is Eileen Kelly, MD, a clinical cardiologist with nearly a decade of experience in treating heart disease in women. Fellowship trained in cardiology at the University of North Carolina Medical Center, where she established her first woman’s heart program, Dr. Kelly sees patients at the Glenbrook Medical Office, adjacent to Glenbrook Hospital. Dr Kelly and the Women’s Heart Program can be reached at 847.657.1768. “Raising awareness is more than a program goal; it’s truly a matter of life or death. Our research among 500 women in our area revealed that more than half of the respondents had one or more risk factors for heart disease,” says Dr. Kelly. “But what’s worse, these women did not perceive themselves to be at risk for a heart attack,” she adds. Dr. Kelly feels her mission is to change that.
The program uses the Framingham risk-assessment tool, endorsed by the American Heart Association, to identify global risk. A tracking system will help to ensure that a women’s heart is evaluated in a consistent way at every office visit. NorthShore University HealthSystem’s comprehensive resources provide expedient referrals to risk-reduction experts in smoking cessation, nutritional counseling, stress-reduction and exercise coaching; as well as hospital-based services, including echocardiography, interventional cardiology, electrophysiology and heart surgery in order to provide state-of-the-art care and access to groundbreaking clinical trials.
“We want to encourage women to understand and manage their heart risks at every stage of life, whether it’s a young woman who is worried about a smoking habit she picked up during college, a mom with high blood pressure, or an older woman who has lost several family members to heart disease,” says Dr. Kelly.
If you'd like a a red dress lapel pin, the new symbol of women's heart-health awareness for the American Heart Association's national "Go Red for Women" campaign, request one by calling 1.888.MYHEART.