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About the UCLA Women’s Cardiovascular Health Center
Because women often present with different symptoms than men, it takes a specialized approach to caring for women with heart disease. Our Center offers a comprehensive array of cardiovascular healthcare services, designed specifically for women, in a single location. Accomplished cardiovascular specialists work together to provide the highest quality prevention and care, integrating the most recent medical and scientific advances. Housed within the Center, is the UCLA-Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Health Program. This program offers community education, cardiovascular risk management peer exchange and support and many other initiatives.
The UCLA Women's Cardiovascular Center is aligned with the Iris Cantor UCLA Women's Health Center to provide comprehensive care and education to women. We take a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, and all members of our team are dedicated to managing everything from education and counseling in coronary artery disease prevention to the treatment of complex cardiac and vascular disease.
The Mission of the UCLA Women's Cardiovascular Center is;
- To provide cutting edge clinical care
- To engage in groundbreaking research that addresses common heart risks such as stress, air pollution, body composition and sleep disturbances
- To perform outreach to support vulnerable populations but also outreach efforts to target often ignored populations such as undergraduate students and teens
- To offer innovative educational programs that promotes cardiovascular health of women in our local community and beyond
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in the United States and most of the world. Every year since 1984, more women have died of cardiovascular disease than have men. Moreover, more women die of heart disease (162 per 1000) than lung cancer (40/1000), breast cancer (24/1000), or diabetes (20/1000). In the past several decades, heart disease mortality rates have been declining for both men and women, but the rate of decline is steeper for men than women and, in fact there is a disturbing increase in heart disease death rates for young women (women aged 35-54).
Another frightening fact is that, according to the American Heart Association, there is an alarming lack of awareness that heart disease is the leading cause of death among women, especially in communities of color. Women furthermore lack awareness of the symptoms of a heart attack, which can be very different in men and women. While men typically have the type of symptoms that we commonly associate with a heart attack - crushing chest pain, women often have symptoms that are more subtle. Women report more shortness of breath, cold sweats, neck and/or jaw pain, nausea, overwhelming fatigue, and abdominal pain, in addition to chest pain. These “atypical” symptoms often make women delay seeking medical care in the case of a heart attack, and unfortunately, also often cause a delay in diagnoses once women do seek medical care.
In addition to differing heart attack symptoms, the biology of cardiovascular disease is not the same in women as in men and thus requires different clinical care.
- Women have more heart attacks during mental stress, men during physical stress;
- Atherosclerosis development in men tends to cause a blockage of the blood vessels, whereas in women, the plaque deposits are more diffuse creating a buildup of pressure in blood vessels.
- Hormones play a major role in heart disease; the highest life cycle risk factors for women are puberty, pregnancy and menopause.
Women may also have different cardiovascular risk factors than men and, again, may require unique preventive care.
Up until the 1980s, most medical research was conducted only in males. Even today, with the knowledge of differences between men and women in cardiovascular biology, only 20% of medical research is performed using females. Some of the biological differences include: genetic differences, differences in reproductive hormones, smaller size and muscle mass.
UCLA has world-class expertise in all aspects of cardiovascular care including those with particular significance to women. Areas of expertise include microvascular dysfunction, preventive cardiology, heart failure, and heart disease in pregnancy.
We utilize novel imaging techniques and multiple treatment modalities such as diet, exercise, medications, interventions and psychosocial treatments and integrated therapies.
Dr. Anne Saltzman, UCLA Cardiac Psychologist, provides interventions centered on things that effect the heart, but cannot be easily measured. This includes stess, mood, sleep and love.
These are some of the outstanding programs offered through UCLA, and UCLA Women’s Cardiovascular Health Center::
- The UCLA Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Health Program
- Grant Funded Psychosocial program
- UCLA Women's Heart Health Support Group (Details and webpage coming soon!)
- Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation
- UCLA Ornish Lifestyle Medicine
- Additional Programs
- Heart Healthy Eating Tips with Chef Elana
- Women’s Heart Foundation
- Mindful Lifestyle Options
The UCLA Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Health Program is a comprehensive cardiovascular program committed to providing education for women with, or at risk for heart diseases, as well as conducting state of the art scientific research aimed at improving women's heart health. We are committed to heart disease, the number one cause of death in US women, and our research is aimed at identifying unique and important features of heart disease in women. Read More >
Grant Funded Psychosocial program
The UCLA Women's Cardiovascular Center has paired with Dr. Anne Saltzman to offer individual interventions to help with stress and coping strategies, as well as support groups to help our patients recover and enjoy a full life. An unexpected Heart event is extremely distressing and can significantly affect our mood, quality of sleep and relationships. Nothing is more helpful than sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone who understands your experience. "Connecting with others in a safe way heals your heart in ways medicine cannot." Dr. Anne Saltzman is the first UCLA Cardiac Psychologist working with patients directly in our Cardiac Rehab Clinic. Read More >
UCLA Women's Heart Health Support Group
UCLA Women’s Cardiovascular Center offers a monthly peer led support group. Connect with other heart patients, share through similar experiences and support one another! This group is led by trained facilitators and heart disease survivors, with many years of experience leading groups. Periodically, guest speakers contribute on topics of interest. Meetings are currently held on Zoom on the 2nd Monday of the month. Information and details to be posted soon.
The Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation department provides a comprehensive approach to cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation utilizing a multidisciplinary team of professionals including registered nurses, registered respiratory therapists, exercise physiologists, certified exercise specialists and registered dieticians under the supervision of our medical directors. Read More >
UCLA Women’s Heart Health is proud to offer Dr. Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease (Ornish Reversal Program), the only scientifically proven program to stop the progression and even reverse the effects of heart disease. Read More >
Chef Elana, owner of ‘Meal and a Spiel’, was featured in Locale Magazine as the ‘2016 Favorite Female Difference Maker in Los Angeles’. She has appeared on numerous television and news shows as an expert on healthy cooking and lovingly shares delicious recipes and healthy eating tips on her website, through classes in Los Angeels and the East Coast and as the UCLA Women’s Cardiovascular Center and Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Health Programs featured chef for our Taste of Health events. Read More >
The Women's Heart Foundation, the only Non-Governmental Organization that designs and implements demonstration projects for the prevention of heart disease, is a 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to improving survival and quality of life. More information coming soon!
Keeping your whole Body, Mind and Spirit in sync will keep your Heart Healthy. Our Doctors passionately promote Whole Mindful Living and we would like to offer you some links and information that will assist you in making Mindful Health decisions. Offerings include Yoga, Mind / Body Programs "Quiet your mind. Strengthen your body. Open your heart.". Read More >