December, 2013 – Heart Disease, the Number One Killer of Women


Ask the Docs

Do you know what causes heart disease in women?  Are you at risk?

By Dr. Christopher Devine, DO

Heart disease has become the number one killer in women. Heart disease is a killer that strikes more women than men, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. Heart disease is the cause of death for one out of three women each year. It’s said that 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors in developing heart disease. Yet only one in every five women believes it’s their greatest health risk.

 What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease can take many other forms; one is that it affects the blood vessels and cardiovascular system. Heart disease can also be in the form of heart failure or congestive heart failure, Arrythmia or abnormal rhythm of the heart, also heart valve problems.

Heart disease can affect all women of all ages; women should see their doctor to have their risk for developing heart disease determined. Here are some statistics: This year more than 920,000 Americans will have a heart attack; nearly half of them will occur without prior symptoms or warning signs. 250,000 will die annually of sudden Cardiac Death. Under age 50, women’s heart attacks are twice as likely as men’s to be fatal. Specific scoring systems for women have been developed which take into account various factors including diabetes and vascular disease. Based on these scoring systems, a doctor can recommend specific lifestyle modifications including healthy diets and exercise programs. There is no single test that can diagnose Heart Disease but the following diagnostic tests such as a EKG (Electrocardiogram), Stress Testing, Chest X-ray, Echocardiography, Cardiac Catherization, CT Heart Scan along with some different types of testing will help your doctor detect irregularity, and/or abnormality in your heart.

How can you help prevent it?

The key to prevention is to start at a very early age. As a result, even the very elderly can benefit from measures to reduce elevated blood pressure, stop smoking, manage your blood sugar, lower your cholesterol, maintain an active lifestyle, eat healthy etc. In addition to your lifestyle, periodic checkups by your health care professional can prevent problems in the future by identifying potential risk factors that can be managed with the appropriate therapies

Because of healthy choices and knowing the signs, more than 627,000 of women have been saved from heart disease, and 330 fewer are dying per day. What’s stopping you from taking action on your health?


Article by Dr. Christopher Devine, DO

Wellington Family Practice

1397 Medical Park Blvd Suite #400, Wellington, FL33414


Dr. Devine graduated from the University of Florida in 1989 with a BS in microbiology. He then earned his medical degree from in 1994 from Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Miami, Florida. He performed his internship at Palmetto General Hospital in Miami then moved to Palm Beach County to complete his residency at Wellington Regional Medical Center in 1997, where he served as Chief Resident. He is an Associate Professor at Wellington Regional Medical Center responsible for training physician residents and medical students.

Dr. Devine is board-certified in Family Practice by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians. In 2001, he started his own practice in Wellington as a solo family practitioner and expanded his practice in 2006 when Tara Stock, D.O. joined his staff.