According to the Mayo Clinic, more women die of heart disease each year than men. The symptoms for heart disease are often different for a woman than a man. These are the symptoms and risk factors every woman needs to know about.
More Than Chest Pain:
Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women? Did you know that women often experience symptoms other than chest pain? My grandmother suffered a massive heart attack two years ago and had no noticeable chest pain. When should you be concerned? According to the Mayo Clinic, if you notice any of the following: Sweating, shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, right arm pain, nausea or vomiting, feeling lightheaded or dizzy, pressure or tightness in the chest (often women do not describe chest pain in the same way a man does), and pain in the jaw, abdomen, upper back, neck, and shoulder; these can all be indicators of a heart attack. My grandmother said her back hurt; it felt like a rope was squeezing her, and had no idea it was a heart attack. She almost died.
According to the American Heart Association, “Women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure,…and if you experience any of the symptoms listed, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help.” As a woman myself, I think that women are very family oriented and don’t want to trouble anyone with something they think is possibly a flu, or the normal aging process. I have not had heart disease but I did go through cancer. I had a lot of symptoms but always brushed them aside and thought I was overworked, dizzy because I skipped breakfast, and so on… I almost died because I made a thousand excuses for my health. Don’t make the same mistake. Let’s look at some risk factors for heart disease.
So you try to live a healthy lifestyle? Maybe you don’t think you’re at risk for heart disease? You may be surprised. The Mayo Clinic says that there are multiple factors that can increase a woman’s chance of developing heart disease. These risks include stress and depression (stress really can kill), low levels of estrogen after menopause increase the risk of micro -vascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol smoking (more so in women than in men), diabetes, metabolic syndrome, pregnancy complications, lack of physical activity, and family history all can contribute to an increased risk of heart disease. That’s a lot to worry about isn’t it? Well, here’s the good news; there are ways you can decrease your risk, starting today.
Decrease Your Risk:
There are many things you can do to decrease your risk of heart disease. The most important thing you can do is don’t smoke or quit as quickly as you can. After one year of being smoke free, your risk of heart disease is cut in half. Learn to let go of stress; do whatever it takes, learn to say no, try yoga, get a therapist if you have to, but get rid of the stress and worry. Also, try to maintain a healthy weight. Our society is so caught up in looking perfect that it isn’t just obesity that’s a problem. Many women are underweight and not eating in a healthy manner. If you don’t exercise, The American Heart Association says that just 30 minutes of walking per day can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Eat a healthy diet. Cut out fats and sugars. Report any health issues to your doctor, no matter if they seem insignificant to you. I cannot stress that enough ladies! I know you’re tough and take care of everyone else, but if you have a heart attack; you won’t be taking care of anyone! Also, know your family history and let your doctor know if you are at a higher risk.
You can watch a simulation of a heart attack here. It shows what’s happening to your heart when the oxygen supply is cut off. It’s not a real person’s heart, don’t worry.