Heart disease is the number one killer of women each year and is linked to breast cancer treatment. Ninety percent of women already have at least one risk factor that is related to heart disease.
Older women who have survived breast cancer are more likely to die from heart disease than cancer recurrence. But breast cancer does not discriminate, men can get this too. Understanding the link between the two diseases can be beneficial to your overall health.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer women are diagnosed with in the United States, except for skin cancers. Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer may be required to have chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or both after having had surgery. This is to help destroy or damage any lingering cancer cells’ DNA.
Although, both types of therapy can increase your risk of developing heart problems. If this is the case, cancer doctors and hearts doctors sometimes work together to provide the best possible treatment plan. This cardiology field is known as cardio-oncology.
Some chemotherapy drugs used can carry a higher risk of developing heart disease. Sometimes the risk is higher if you take a higher dosage of the drug. However, chemotherapy itself does not increase the risk of a heart attack because it does not affect blood flow to the arteries.
Women who require radiation therapy may have a higher probability of long-term heart diseases, especially those with cancer in the left breast nearest the heart. Radiation therapy can lead to blocked arteries, thickening of the heart valve and blood vessels, and inflammation.
As with chemotherapy drugs, the higher the dose of radiation, the higher the risk is to the heart. But due to the changes in radiation technology over the decades, the risk for women developing heart damage has decreased.
Breast cancer signs and symptoms
- Lump in the breast. The lump may be small and soft or feel like a hard knot in the tissue.
- Changes in the skin. The skin can begin to itch or tingle and develop some redness.
- Dimpling of the skin. Your breast can develop dimples similar to that of an orange peel.
- The breast, side of the arm, or lymph nodes where the cancer forms may swell even when no lump can be felt.
- Inward nipple. Sometimes the nipple with cancer can retract inward.
- The nipple may discharge fluid (not breast milk).
- Soreness and pain. General pain may develop on or around the breast.
Women are less likely to recognize the symptoms related to a heart attack than men would, so they usually end up in the emergency room after heart damage has occurred.
Since their symptoms differ from men’s, a woman will be diagnosed with heart disease less often. So, finding the best cardiologist in the Lafayette, LA area is vital to both men and women for early detection.
Heart disease signs and symptoms
- Shortness of breath. If you experience shortness of breath, especially during your everyday activities, this could be a sign of heart disease.
- Breaking out in a cold sweat without any reason could be a sign of a heart attack.
- Throat or jaw pain. Pressure in your chest that spreads to the throat or jaw is a sign of a heart attack.
- Chest, arm, or leg pain. If your chest feels tight, or you are experiencing pain in the arm or leg, you might have a blocked artery.
- Lightheaded or dizzy. If you feel unsteady or faint, your blood pressure could be dropping. This means your heart is struggling to pump the way it should.
- Nausea or vomiting. Indigestion, heartburn, or stomach discomfort are all possible symptoms during a heart attack.
- Easily fatigued. If you start to feel tired or exhausted after doing something you have always done, this could be a sign of heart disease. It is important to pay attention to significant changes that occur.
- If your heart is not pumping the blood the way it should, your legs, feet, and ankles might swell.
Researchers are finding that breast cancer and heart disease share some of the same risk factors such as aging, lack of exercise, poor diet, and smoking.
Making changes to live a healthier life might prevent you from developing these diseases. Finding the best cardiologist in Lafayette, LA, to work with you to formulate a treatment plan is crucial to a successful recovery.
Positive lifestyle changes that can benefit your health
- Get active. Staying active daily can be rewarding and increase the quality of your life.
- Eat healthy. A healthy diet is one of the best weapons for fighting diseases.
- Stop smoking. Cigarette and tobacco users have a higher risk of developing cancer and diseases of the heart and lungs.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Managing a healthy weight will have a positive effect on your overall health.
If you are looking for the best cardiologist in the Lafayette, LA area, look no further. Dr. Corwin A. Thomas is board certified in interventional cardiology, nuclear medicine, and internal medicine cardiologist.
Dr. Thomas spends an adequate amount of time with his patients to make sure they understand their health and the process of their disease. He and his well-trained staff will greet you promptly with a smile.
You can schedule an appointment either on our website or by calling the office directly at 337-234-3163.