Taking Care of Your Heart: Managing risk of cardiovascular disease
Learn how to decrease your risk of heart disease with our experts at Stix.
By: Dr. Nedda Dastmalchi, DO, MA
At Stix, we know that cardiovascular health plays an important role in your quality of life and overall wellbeing. So, we’ve partnered with Dr. Nedda Dastmalchi, DO, MA, a physician and cardiology fellow at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, to get real about heart health in honor of Heart Month.
To start off our Taking Care of Your Heart series, we asked Dr. Dastmalchi a few questions about her background, what led her to study heart health, and what you can do to help decrease your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Dr. Dastmalchi: I grew up in Potomac, Maryland, a suburb outside of Washington, D.C. At Case Western Reserve University, I studied Medical Anthropology and ended up adding more courses my senior year to graduate with a dual Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. I then did a post-baccalaureate program at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and carried on to the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, VA for my medical school training.
For residency, I came back home to Washington, D.C. where I trained in internal medicine at George Washington University Hospital. When I am not at the hospital, I do enjoy traveling, creating plant-based dishes and desserts adapted from various cuisines, expanding my creative rest by going to the art museum and watching international films, medical journalism, and long walks in the city and trails.
Why should women care about heart health?
Dr. Dastmalchi: Gender and race play a large role in the risk of developing heart disease, but in the past research has typically underrepresented minorities in trials. Even with COVID-19 taking the limelight in our medical culture, cardiovascular disease is still the number one cause of death among women.
The American Heart Association finds that 1 in 3 women die of heart disease, and 45% of women 20 years and older are living with some form of heart disease, which is higher among Black women of the same age group. We are also learning that South Asians also have a higher rate of heart disease with some individuals having normal LDL cholesterol levels (aka the “bad” kind of cholesterol) while having severe coronary artery disease that requires surgery.
Some heart conditions are more common among women in comparison to men such as stress cardiomyopathy, also known as broken heart syndrome, sudden coronary artery dissection (SCAD), and myocardial infarction with no obstructive coronary artery disease (MINOCA).
Each of these syndromes, and their contributing factors, will be covered in depth during our Taking Care of Your Heart series.