Dr. Gretchen Wells writes a lot of prescriptions and orders a lot of tests. But the most rewarding thing she dispenses is hope, she says. As director of the Women’s Heart Heath Program at the UK Gilll Heart & Vascular Institute, she helps Kentucky women enjoy longer, fuller lives with healthy hearts.
In Kentucky, the mortality rate from heart disease is among the nation’s highest, and Wells understands that in the fight against women’s heart issues, prevention is especially important. There are other issues to tackle as well, she says, including:
- The biology of heart disease is different in men than in women, so new ways of detection and treatment need to be explored to address those differences.
- More women are surviving breast cancer only to develop heart problems relatedto chemotherapy.
- Young women with pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia are at higher risk for heart disease later in life.
All of these and more are what bring Wells to the office every day. She spends her time collaborating across campus to establish testing, identify biomarkers and explore treatments tailored specifically to the needs of women with heart disease.
But Wells says the best part of her job is developing relationships with her patients. “They teach me about family, they teach me about forgiveness and they teach me about love,” she says.
Watch the video below to see why Wells says “the best is yet to come for the women of Kentucky.”