Studies show the leading causes of death in women are heart disease and cancer. Dr. Anita Arnold, a cardio-oncologist with Lee Health, says the two conditions have the same risk factors. “If we talk about heart disease and we talk about hypertension, obviously that’s a risk factor. But interestingly for cancer if you have severe hypertension, that’s not well controlled, it actually stimulates the production of a chemical that can cause blood vessels to grow more rapidly in cancer.”
One in eight women will get breast cancer, but one in two women will develop heart disease. “Try and focus on the big picture. In taking care of all the risk factors that we know of, smoking, sedentary, cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, excessive alcohol, all of those things go together,” said Dr. Arnold.
The risk factors for heart disease match many of the risk factors for developing cancer: obesity, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and high cholesterol. “When we talk about diabetes, it’s a huge risk factor for coronary disease. It is a risk factor also for cancer. If you don’t exercise it’s a risk factor for both,” said Dr. Arnold.
Doctors say having a healthy lifestyle not only lowers your risk for heart disease, but also for cancer. “The organs have to work together. If one is bothered, guaranteed another one is getting bothered by the same process,” said Dr. Arnold.
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, limiting sugar and alcohol, getting plenty of sleep, and stopping smoking can all help lower your risk for both conditions. Improving your health today can prevent health concerns in the future.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health – Caring People. Inspiring Care.