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Coronary Artery Calcium May Raise Women's Heart Risk
Date:12/10/2007

aid.

Still, Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of Women and Heart Disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, called the study findings important. "The risk of heart disease in women is often underestimated, because they develop heart disease later than men, often at age 65. By measuring calcium, we can show that they might actually be at higher risk, and that is important because they can benefit from preventive measures."

And heart-risk estimates for women based on traditional risk factors might be misleading because of societal changes, Steinbaum said. "Younger women are developing heart disease earlier than we originally thought," she said. "This is where calcium might be an important modality in classifying risk."

A test for coronary artery calcium is easily done, Steinbaum said, but health insurance companies don't currently pay for it.

While there are no known measures to reduce coronary artery calcium, a woman who knows of its presence can still take preventive measures, Lakoski said. "She needs to offset it with lifestyle measures that affect risk factors that are modifiable, such as cholesterol," she said.

More information

To learn more about coronary heart disease, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Susan G. Lakoski, M.D., cardiac fellow, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Suzanne Steinbaum, director, Women and Heart Disease, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Dec. 10/24, 2007, Archives of Internal Medicine


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