PeaceHealth physician makes women’s cardiovascular health a priority
photo by buck heidrick
Margo Kozinski is a doctor after your own heart – your strong, healthy heart. A cardiologist with PeaceHealth Southwest, Kozinski is champion of women’s health and works to educate the public about the causes and symptoms of heart disease in women.
Originally from Poland, Kozinski came to Chicago on a vacation when she was 18 without a word of English, and wound up attending college and medical school there. Another vacation brought her to the Vancouver-Portland area in 2006, and she began her career with Cascade Heart, which last year joined with PeaceHealth.
There is less reliable research on women’s heart health, as “historically women have been underrepresented in studies,” said Kozinski. But it has been found that women’s presentation of heart attack is typically not the classic “elephant on the chest” as men often describe, but can be a range of nonspecific symptoms such as neck and shoulder pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and a feeling of acid reflux.
“I hear in the emergency room, ‘I thought this was the worst heartburn I have ever had,’” said Kozinski.
“There’s a lot we don’t understand about women and heart disease,” she said. On a physical level, women’s arteries tend to be smaller. But there are many psychosocial factors, too. Women tend to suffer from depression more often, and tend to take care of others before they take care of themselves, often stopping an activity that has become more difficult, such as exercising, rather than getting it checked out. And when they do get checked out, women often feel their symptoms are ignored by their doctors.
The PeaceHealth Southwest Heart and Vascular Center Cardiology Center offers a patient-driven lifestyle clinic that focuses on tools to prevent and lessen heart disease, including a custom exercise program and a monthly check-in.
Kozinski lectures locally on women and heart disease, going to wellness groups at the hospital and in the community, and working with the local chapter of WomenHeart.
“I do a lot of outreach in the community and there’s always a lot of surprise in the audience,” said Kozinski. “More women die of heart attacks every year than of all the cancers together.”
– Dr. Margo Kozinski
PeaceHealth Southwest Heart & Vascular Center Cardiology
360-887-4694 or 360-597-3061