Katy Lonergan, M.D., is unwavering in her efforts to prevent heart disease, especially in women.
"It is the number one cause of death in women in the United States, so prevention, recognition, and treatment are crucial," she says.
A board-certified cardiologist and Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dr. Lonergan is on staff at the Clinical Center in the Park Cities, where she treats patients with general cardiac problems, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, hypertension, and heart valve disease. She uses ultrasound, stress testing, and other noninvasive imaging tools to assess a patient’s risk of cardiac complications. She also has a special interest in women’s cardiac health.
"People in their 20s, 30s, and 40s should be thinking about lifestyle choices that will lower their risk of heart disease 10 or 20 years down the road.”
Dr. Lonergan enjoys building relationships with patients, educating them about cardiac care, and developing strategies that will help them stay the course toward optimal health.
"You don’t prevent heart disease in six or 12 months," she says. "You do that over decades, ideally before it has a chance to develop."
Being screened for the five big risk factors – high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, and a family history of heart disease – should be a top priority, Dr. Lonergan says. And the earlier the better, she says, even before symptoms begin.
Obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity, and obstructive sleep apnea can also be precursors to heart disease, she says. But if patients are willing to make slight lifestyle adjustments, they will reduce their chance of developing heart disease over their lifetime.