What Women Don’t Know about Heart Disease
Although breast cancer is a leading cause of death for women in the United States, heart disease kills six times as many women than breast cancer every year. Yet, one in every three women said they would not call 911 if they thought they were having a heart attack and few are aware of the most common heart attack symptoms besides chest pain. Women face a heightened threat of heart disease and have different symptoms than men. Heart disease can start during childhood, but as the silent killer causes no symptoms, a heart attack can be the closest and only warning sign.
Heart disease differs in women compared to men. A few common risks and links to heart disease include:
· Blood lipids. After menopause, women have high concentrations of cholesterol than men do. Triglycerides, the type of fat found in your blood, elevates while the HDL, good cholesterol, lowers which increases the risk of heart disease.
· Diabetes. Women with diabetes are at higher risk of heart disease. Women who may have suffered a heart attack and have diabetes are at a higher risk for a second heart attack and heart failure.
· Metabolic Syndrome. The combination of increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and high cholesterol or triglyceride levels. This increases risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
· Physical Inactivity. Lack of physical activity is a significant risk for heart disease. Exercise reduces risk of heart attack and stroke, increases HDL (good cholesterol) levels, regulates glucose and lowers blood pressure.
· Smoking. Women who smoke are less likely to quit successfully and more likely to have a heart attack compared to men who smoke.
Women do not experience the same symptoms as men either. Some women have reported feeling tired, short of breath, nauseous and pain in areas such as the abdomen, neck and shoulders. Chest or arm pain can be a symptom, but two out of every three women who die suddenly from heart disease did not have symptoms.
Be sure to recognize the seven signs of a heart attack:
· Chest pain or discomfort
· Upper body pain
· Shortness of breath
· Breaking out in cold sweats or excessive sweating
· Unusual tiredness or muscle fatigue
· Sudden dizziness or light-headedness
· Nausea or vomiting
Do not miss a beat, every 100 seconds a woman suffers a heart attack in the United States. Learn the common signs of a heart attack and call 911 if those symptoms arise. To prevent heart disease, talk to your doctor if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or are overweight. Working with a medical professional can help make the process easier to understand and obtain your health goals.