By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

Medical experts are trying to figure out how to decrease heart disease risk for older women who survive cancer.

The American Heart Association advises heart disease be considered during breast cancer treatment since cancer outcomes can be influenced by heart health. In addition, some types of cancer treatment can result in heart damage.

Some types of heart damage resulting from cancer therapies include: left ventricular systolic dysfunction; overt heart failure; hypertension, arrhythmias; myocardial ischemia; valvular disease; thromboembolic disease; pulmonary hypertension; and pericarditis, according to a scientific statement from the AHA.

About 40,000 women die of breast cancer every year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meanwhile, roughly 10 times that number die from heart disease, according to heart disease and stroke statistics released in January and published in Circulation.

Beyond damage caused by treatment, the statement points out that the risk factors for breast cancer and heart disease also overlap, such as age, tobacco use, diet, obesity and sedentary lifestyle.

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