Cardiovascular Disease in Women

Heart disease prevention for women

Scripps Clinic cardiologist Christina Adams, MD, specializes in women's heart care.

Dr. Christina Adams, Cardiology, Scripps Clinic

Heart disease prevention for women

The Scripps Women's Heart Center brings together specialists in women's heart disease, the most advanced technology and the nationally recognized expertise of Scripps. These highly trained physicians are dedicated to treating heart disease and conditions experienced by women.

Atherosclerotic heart disease

Atherosclerotic heart disease, or atherosclerosis, is a condition that causes plaque to build up in the arteries that carry blood to the heart and is the main cause of heart disease. Our cardiologists take a holistic approach to preventing atherosclerosis, evaluating not only the traditional indicators of heart disease, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but also your lifestyle, how you manage stress and other factors that have been found to affect women’s hearts. Then, we work with you to develop a plan to minimize your risk.

Microvascular coronary disease

We offer on-site testing for coronary microvascular disease (MVD), a condition that causes damage to the tiny arteries of the heart. Research has found that the decrease in estrogen levels after menopause may be a factor in the development of MVD; estrogen helps protect the heart, so when estrogen levels fall, the heart may be more vulnerable to disease, especially if there are other risk factors, such as high blood pressure.

Pregnancy-related cardiac conditions

If you have a heart condition, you may need to take special precautions before and during pregnancy. The cardiologists at Scripps Women’s Heart Center can evaluate your heart condition throughout your pregnancy so symptoms and potential complications can be detected and treated early to help ensure a safe outcome for you and your baby.

Chronic inflammatory conditions

Women are more likely than men to develop autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which are associated with increased inflammation in the body. When blood vessels become inflamed, they become narrower, which can raise the risk of heart disease or stroke. The physicians at Scripps Women’s Heart Center can evaluate your risk factors and help reduce risk of heart disease with early preventive cardiovascular care.

Women’s hormone-related conditions

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), early-onset menopause and other conditions related to an imbalance of female sex hormones can raise women’s risk of heart disease. Hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms should be discussed with a health care provider. The physicians at Scripps Women’s Heart Center provide personalized cardiovascular risk assessment and discuss the impact of hormone replacement therapy, hormonal contraception and infertility treatments in your overall heart health.

Cancer-related cardiac conditions

Certain cancers and cancer treatments can affect the heart and managing both conditions can be challenging. That’s why the physicians at Scripps Women’s Heart Center partner with oncologists to combine their knowledge and help protect the hearts of people undergoing or have undergone cancer treatment.