Risk of Developing Vascular Disease Increases in Older Women
After menopause, women have an increased risk of developing atherosclerosis, a term used to describe diseases that involve the accumulation of plaque that leads to the gradual closure of arteries throughout the body. According to Vascular Surgeon Omar Haqqani, M.D., of MidMichigan Physicians Group,these diseases are widespread and often under-diagnosed among older American women.
“It’s important for older women to seek advice from their primary care provider,” said Dr. Haqqani. “There are factors that set women apart and increase the risk of developing carotid stenosis, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and lower extremity arterial occlusive disease.”
These factors include:
- Family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Family history of stroke
- Family history of leg amputation
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Diabetes Mellitus
A report published by vascular surgeons from Columbia University Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical College campuses of New York Presbyterian Hospital identified the three main vascular disease categories for women and the risk factors for each condition:
- Women’s carotid and vertebral arteries are sometimes smaller than those of men. Therefore, less plaque buildup is required to cause severe restrictions in blood flow. In turn, this causes carotid stenosis and puts women are at higher risk of stroke.
- Due to unknown factors, abdominal aortic aneurysms develop much later in life in women than men.
- The risk of restricted blood flow in the legs rises quickly for women after menopause. This increases the odds of acquiring arterial occlusive disease (poor blood flow to the legs).
“Women who have spent their lives caring for others need to talk with their primary care provider about being tested for carotid stenosis, abdominal aortic aneurism and arterial occlusive disease,” recommends Dr. Haqqani.
Those who don’t have a primary care provider, may visit www.midmichigan.org/doctors or call MidMichigan Health Line toll-free at (800) 999-3199.
Dr. Haqqani is currently accepting new patients at his offices located at 160 E. Warwick Drive in Alma and 4011 Orchard Drive, Suite 4006, in Midland. Appointments are available with a physician referral by calling his office toll-free at (855) 289-5353. Those who would like more information about Dr. Haqqani may view his profile.