Preventing Heart Disease in Women

Preventing Heart Disease in Women

A cardiologist speaks to the McLean Woman’s Club.


Cardiologist Rachel L. Berger, M.D., addresses the Woman’s Club of McLean.

On Tuesday, Feb. 3, the Woman’s Club of McLean welcomed its monthly speaker Rachel L. Berger, M. D., a cardiologist at Virginia Heart, a practice with several offices in Northern Virginia. Berger, who is board certified in cardiovascular disease and echocardiography, has expertise in general cardiology and women’s heart health.

The topic of Berger’s talk was preventing cardiovascular disease in women. “Heart disease is the leading killer among women worldwide,” the doctor began. Then, after listing the unique features that are often associated with women’s heart disease, she discussed how to estimate and minimize risk.

The most prominent heart risk factors, according to the doctor, appeared to be high cholesterol, smoking, high blood pressure, a poor diet, inactivity, obesity and a family history of early heart disease. Other, lifetime risk factors included having kidney disease or diabetes. Berger went over the current guidelines for reducing cholesterol and blood pressure, the risks of smoking and the goals for diabetes treatment. She discussed a heart-healthy diet, the importance of “good” fats in the diet and goals for physical activity.

Berger emphasized throughout her talk that it is important for the prevention of heart disease for women to understand their individual risk and to be aware that there are many steps they can take to reduce it. Berger is a 2001 graduate of the University of Rochester Medical School and received a fellowship at New York University Medical Center. She is one of four woman cardiologists at Virginia Heart who have expertise in women’s heart health.

— Laura Sheridan