‘Smart at Heart’ empowers women to fight heart disease

Harvard cardiologist’s book attacks heart disease holistically. Learn how you can fight the #1 killer of women.

A stethoscope in the shape of a heart.

"Smart at Heart" isn't just for women who are at risk for heart disease. Dr. Malissa J. Wood, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, reminds us all women are at risk. "By following the steps in the book, women can proactively manage and modify their individual risk for heart disease."

Her new book, "Smart at Heart: A Holistic 10-Step Approach to Preventing and Healing Heart Disease for Women," offers solutions and life-skills to women to help beat back this "silent killer."

Starting with physical and emotional health, Dr. Wood maps out a strategy and tactics to cross key "bridges" and gain empowerment to build a happier, healthier life. By taking care of one's heart, women address other tension points in life, from physical health, stress, and nutrition to emotional health, relationships, communication, and mindfulness.

"Learning to communicate more effectively to others but also to ourselves allows us to cross this bridge. Better communication with friends, family, and colleagues can enhance our quality of life and reduce our stress," Dr. Wood says.

How can medical professionals encourage others to be heart-smart?

Dr. Wood advises: "Pass on the message about heart disease risk and symptoms: Knowledge is power. Share the important message: By aligning the bridges in our lives, we can have access to the best health ever."

Dr. Wood specializes in diagnosing and treating of women's heart disease. She is co-director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center Corrigan Women's Health Program and is directing a primary prevention study of low-income women to improve their cardiovascular health.

Dr. Wood received the Heart of Our Mission Award in September of 2008, an award bestowed by the American Heart Association for her volunteer efforts for the Go Red Campaign to reduce heart disease in women.

Published last month, "Smart at Heart" is available for purchase online at Random House.