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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Program for Women's Cardiovascular Health

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Free Women's Health Guide

Download our Women's Health Guide to learn more about heart disease symptoms, risk factors and prevention.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one health threat to women over age 25. Each year, 6 times as many women die of cardiovascular disease than breast cancer. The condition affects 10 percent of women between the ages of 45 and 64, and 1 in 4 women over 65 years of age—some 8 million women in all. More women than men die each year from heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular conditions, yet women are less likely than men to receive appropriate care. 

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Research shows that women must be approached differently than men when it comes to cardiovascular health. Women's symptoms for cardiac and vascular disease may manifest differently, and in general, women develop the first signs of cardiovascular disease after menopause, which is about 10 years later than men.

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Important steps in reducing cardiovascular deaths in women include early detection of disease, treatment of risk factors, and the implementation of evidence-based recommendations for primary and secondary prevention. The Effectiveness-Based Guidelines for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Women—2011 Update are guidelines published by the American Heart Association.  These guidelines provide an algorithm for the assessment and prevention of cardiovascular disease and highlight the incorporation of lifestyle modification as a top priority for preventing and decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease in women.

Northwestern Memorial's Program for Women's Cardiovascular Health is founded on the principles of identifying cardiovascular disease in women of all ages and providing care that is designed specifically for women. Marla A. Mendelson, MD, medical director, is committed to meeting the needs of women affected by cardiovascular disease through a multidisciplinary team approach. Dr. Mendelson is joined by associate medical director Vera H. Rigolin, MD.

Together these physicians are dedicated to promoting women's awareness of cardiovascular health, addressing risk factors including stress, tobacco use, nutrition, and exercise, and committed to conducting research clinical trials to advance the knowledge of cardiovascular care for women.

The Program for Women's Cardiovascular Health is developing a standard of care that recognizes women as unique individuals and tailors treatment strategies to optimize their specific cardiovascular needs.


Program for Women's Cardiovascular Health
1-866-662-8467 (toll free)

Information line
312-MYHEART (694-3278)

For additional information on education and support for women with heart disease, please visit the WomenHeart website.

Last UpdateJune 20, 2013

Referrals &

To obtain a referral or schedule
an appointment:

Northwestern Memorial:

Northwestern Lake Forest:
847-LF-HEART (534-3278)

Northwestern Grayslake:
847-LF-HEART (534-3278)

Glenview Outpatient Center:

847-724-GLEN (4536)