Heart Disease and Women
Many women..myself included…are more concerned with the various forms of Cancer that may kill us. We don’t really give much thought to Heart Disease unless someone close to us has been affected by it. But we should be concerned..VERY concerned!
Heart disease is the #1 killer of women. More women die every year from Heart Disease than all types of Cancer combined. A very scary statistic isn’t it? Heart Disease & Heart Attacks always seemed like something that only effected men…how wrong we are.
Women experience heart attacks very differently than men which is probably why they are overlooked. Along with the fact that we all think we’re Wonder Women so if it doesn’t knock us on our butt it can’t be that bad. When you think of someone having a heart attack…you think chest gripping pain right? Not so in a women.
I lost my Mom over 20 years ago to heart attack…she was 52. She had no symptoms at the time. When the doctor told me she had a heart attack I told him he was crazy. It turned out that her heart was so damaged from previous heart attacks that this one…although mild…she couldn’t recover from. Looking back she did have symptoms that we shrugged off as stress or a busy day. Had we been aware that these could have been symptoms of heart disease…she would probably still be here today.
Here are some of the symptoms women can experience:
- Mild to severe pain in your jaw, neck, shoulder, upper back.
- You may experience abdominal discomfort such as nausea, vomiting or swelling
- You may feel lightheaded or dizzy
- You may feel unusually tired or fatigued
- You might have pain…pressure…tightness or heaviness in your chest ..but not always
- Pain in your right arm…but not always
- Sudden shortness of breath
With our busy lives… women’s symptoms may be hard to diagnose or are confused with a busier than usual day. Many times symptoms begin while we are watching TV or reading a book….sooo you think…”I’m just sitting here..it can’t be a heart attack” WRONG!! Sweating may be thought of as a symptom of a hot flash…but if it doesn’t pass…take notice. Feeling unusually tired may be the Flu coming on…but it may not.
High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure and Obesity play a big part in your risk for developing heart disease but there are other risk factors that only apply to women.
- Diabetes increases a woman’s risk more than a man.
- Stress & Depression effect women differently than men. If you are stressed or depressed you may eat poorly, be less active and suffer from insomnia.
- Smoking causes your blood to become “sticky” creating a higher risk of clots and blockages.
- Menopause poses an increased risk due to low levels of Estrogen.
- A family history of Heart Disease.
How can you reduce your risk? Some lifestyle changes could be the key 😀
- Stop Smoking!! Easier said than done..but it might save your life!
- Exercise!! 30 to 60 minutes a day isn’t a lot. I know..we’re all so busy…but isn’t it worth it to stay healthy?
- Lose Weight!! This one can be tough…but you can do it!!
- Eat Healthy!!! Lots of Fruits & Veggies 😀
Women of every age should take heart disease seriously!!
**If you experience any symptoms call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room**
Please follow the link below to the American Heart Association for more info….