May is National Women’s Health Month

Portrait of group of female colleagues at work. Multiracial woman professionals standing together in office looking at camera.
National Women’s health Month is a good time to learn about women’s leading health risks.

National Women’s Health Month was established to empower more women to make their health a priority.  But your health shouldn’t just be a priority this month. There’s a lot you can do to support your well-being year-round and throughout your lifetime.

  Understanding your personal risk factors for the diseases and conditions that are women’s greatest health threats, along with regularly seeing healthcare providers who can support your health, are some of the best ways to take care of yourself for both the long-term and short-term.


Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year. That is why Katherine Shreyder, MD, of St. Clair Medical Group Cardiology, is on a mission to better educate women about the life events unique to women that may increase their chances of a cardiovascular event.

Menstrual Cycles

“Hormonal fluctuations certainly affect the cardiovascular system in women. We know, for example, that menstruating females are at higher risk of experiencing palpitations, or irregular or pounding heartbeats, in the second phase of the menstrual cycle,” says Dr. Shreyder.


Less than half of American women entering pregnancy have optimal cardiovascular health, and pregnancy adds extra strain on a woman’s heart and blood vessels that may have lasting effects on her long-term health. Plus, complications such as miscarriages, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and low birth weight of a baby can increase a women’s risk for developing cardiovascular disease later in life.


While going through menopause does not cause cardiovascular disease, menopause marks a point in a woman’s life when risk factors can accelerate. Dr. Shreyder notes, “Besides the change in sex hormones, menopause causes unfavorable change in body fat distribution, lipids, and lipoproteins. There is also increased sensitivity to sodium, leading to fluid retention and elevated blood pressure.”

Cardiovascular disease can affect a woman at any age, which is why Dr. Shreyder stresses, “A visit to a cardiologist shouldn’t happen only when a problem exists.  If you have strong risk factors and/or a family history of cardiovascular disease, it is reasonable to see a cardiologist for preventive purposes.”


Just as important is effectively managing conditions such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), fertility, menopause, and more that can impact your daily health.

While your health concerns are likely to change as you get older, Tera Conway, MD, of St. Clair Medical Group OB/GYN, and her colleagues are proud to provide any and all care women may need throughout their lifetimes.

“I love being able to see women through all aspects of their life,” shares Dr. Conway. “Starting often times in their teenage years, going through to pregnancy, then routine annual exams, menopause, and any problems that may occur.”

Women in need of preventative care. Women with abnormal pap smears, issues with pelvic pain, or urinary complaints. Women with routine or complicated pregnancies. Women experiencing menopause. Dr. Conway works to educate and empower all patients to take an active role in their health.

She explains, “I start by just listening to the patient and really taking the time to hear what they’re saying, what their concerns are, what barriers they may have before we can start developing a plan going forward. Once we know those things, then I talk through my thought process with patients to ensure we’re aligned.”

Make your health a priority by scheduling an appointment with a St. Clair Health provider today.