Heart Disease In Women
In 2017, heart disease caused 1 in every 5 female deaths in the United States. In fact, it was the leading cause of death for women, taking more than 250,000 lives. During American Heart Month and always, we seek to educate on the heart disease symptoms unique to women in order to prevent people from engaging in these controllable risk factors. Learning about these symptoms and risks can help women protect themselves against heart disease.
Symptoms of Heart Disease in Women
The most common symptom of a heart attack in men and women is the same – chest pain, pressure, or discomfort. With that said, this pressure is not always as severe or noticeable for women. Generally, women experience additional symptoms unrelated to chest pain including:
- Neck, jaw, shoulder or upper back pain
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in one or both arms
- Vomiting or nausea
- Dizziness and Lightheadedness
Risk Factors of Heart Disease in Women
The three key risk factors of heart disease are high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking. With that said, there are other conditions and lifestyle choices that put people at a higher risk for heart disease. Those include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Physical inactivity
- Abundant alcohol consumption
- Eating an unhealthy diet
Several risk factors play a larger role in the development of heart disease in women. These factors include pregnancy complications, family history, inflammatory disease, and mental stress and depression.
Heart Disease Prevention for Women
80 percent of cardiac and stroke events can be prevented with education on the signs and symptoms. In order to reduce their risk of heart disease, women should quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption. Additionally, they should maintain a healthy weight by regularly exercising and eating a healthy diet. Managing all of your other health conditions and your stress are also key elements to reducing your risk of heart disease.
Lastly, if you find that you are experiencing the symptoms of heart disease, don’t hesitate to call your doctor. Often, women chalk up heart disease symptoms to other conditions like acid reflux, the flu, and aging. While it can be easy to fall into the pattern of ignoring these signs, it’s key to contact a medical professional.