UF Health MedMatters

Women Need Women-Specific Cardiology Care

women holding heartWhile a healthy heart looks the same for a man and woman inside the body, we know women’s heart health is unique to them. That’s why our UF Health team has built a cardiovascular care clinic specifically for women.

Led by Ki Park, M.D., an interventional cardiologist in the division of cardiovascular medicine at the UF College of Medicine, we have a comprehensive team to offer leading-edge care for the women we serve.

Our team, made up of eight cardiovascular specialists, reviews each woman’s unique heart disease risk factors including diabetes, menopause, stress, smoking, inactivity and pregnancy. These risk factors need to be evaluated differently for each woman and our physicians come up with a patient-centered plan for them to effectively monitor their cardiovascular health.

“Women are not just smaller versions of men. Sex/gender specific risk factors need to be considered to provide targeted care to each individual woman,” said Park.

Pregnancy, by itself, can bring its own unique cardiovascular disease challenges. In addition to risk with congenital heart diseases and aortic diseases, women who have standard medical history but are older than 40, are African-American and/or have a history of substance abuse and other pre-existing conditions, like diabetes or hypertension, are at a higher risk.

To better serve our pregnant patients with cardiovascular conditions, Park and UF Health Women’s Center physicians have teamed up to also build a heart care in pregnancy program. These patients begin with a thorough assessment by a maternal-fetal medicine physician cardiologist that distinguishes which specific heart issues need to be addressed.

“Heart disease occurring during pregnancy is becoming increasingly more common and needs specialized care by both cardiologists with expertise in treating these specific types of heart disease and obstetric specialists who can also manage the baby,” said Park.

As the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, heart disease needs to be taken seriously by cardiovascular providers and treated using a personalized care plan for each woman who presents with symptoms.

About UF Health Shands Hospital

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University of Florida Health Shands Hospital has been recognized among the nation’s best hospitals in seven adult medical specialties. Overall, UF Health Shands Hospital was recognized as one of the best hospitals in Florida. In addition to being ranked among the nation’s top 50 hospitals in seven specialties, UF Health Shands Hospital also was listed as “high performing” in seven specialties, including abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, colon cancer surgery, COPD, heart failure, lung cancer surgery, neurology & neurosurgery and orthopaedics.