The Queen’s Medical Center’s Clinical Cardiologist Dr. Helaine Kwong spoke to the impact that heart disease has on women for a recent episode of the Becker’s Healthcare Podcast. The podcast regularly features interviews and conversations with top leaders in the healthcare industry. Dr. Kwong shared about her non-traditional path and background into cardiology in addition to highlighting misconceptions, preventative care and significance of heart disease.
Cardiology is a second career for Dr. Kwong. She was initially a pharmacist, but then made the transition when she fell in love with the field of cardiology during her clinical pharmacy rotations. This switch led her to medical school and her role at Queen’s Heart Institute. Dr. Kwong is also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Hawaii.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the country. Dr. Kwong emphasized the magnitude of this with podcast host Scott Becker, sharing that a person dies every 30 seconds from the disease. With her specialty, she is focused on raising awareness of the unique ways that heart disease presents itself in women.
During the podcast Dr. Kwong said, “We need to reframe the narrative and that means educating patients about potential sex-related differences in the presentation of cardiovascular disease. For example, women might not have the typical elephant sitting on my chest crushing chest pain, which radiates down my arm. Sometimes the symptoms can be much more subtle like nausea or the chest is uncomfortable, or sweating, or general feeling of being unwell.”
Heart disease is responsible for one in three deaths of women, but Dr. Kwong says that it can often be prevented with diet and lifestyle modifications. She frequently recommends a Mediterranean or DASH diet to her patients.
Listen to this Becker’s Healthcare Podcast episode to learn more about Dr. Kwong and her expertise on heart disease affecting women.