Did you know that the symptoms of heart disease are different between men and women? According to the CDC, heart disease is the number one cause of death of all females and accounted for 23.5% of deaths in 2010. It is important to understand what heart disease is, what the symptoms are, and what the risk factors for the disease are.
What is Heart Disease?
There are many types of heart disease . There is coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and heart attacks to name a few. Each of these heart diseases requires a different type of treatment, but they do often share similar warning signs.
The most common cause of heart disease in both men and women is the narrowing or the blockage of the coronary artery, which is called coronary artery disease, which can cause heart attacks. According to MedlinePlus, 1 in 4 women dies from heart disease in the United States.
There are heart diseases that affect women more than men, and these include: coronary microvascular disease (MVD) and broken heart disease. Coronary microvascular disease is a problem that affects the tiny arteries in the heart. Broken heart disease is caused by “extreme emotional stress leading to severe but often short-term heart muscle failure.”
What are the Symptoms of Heart Disease in Women?
When a woman is having a heart attack, the most common heart attack symptoms in women are: pain, pressure, or discomfort in the chest. However, in women, the pain, pressure, or discomfort is not always the most prominent symptom, and it is possible to have a heart attack without any chest pain or pressure.
According to the Mayo Clinic, women are more likely to suffer from heart attack symptoms that are unrelated to chest pain. These include:
- Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Right arm pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Unusual fatigue
It is also important to know that, women are more likely to experience the symptoms of heart disease while they are resting or sleeping. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Women tend to show up in emergency rooms after heart damage has already occurred because their symptoms are not those typically associated with a heart attack and because women may downplay their symptoms.”
At the first sign of pain or discomfort in ones chest, it is important to seek medical treatment immediately.
What are the Risk Factors for Heart Disease?
Typically high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity are the traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease. However, there are other disease processes that can contribute or play a bigger role in the development of coronary artery disease according to the Mayo Clinic. These include:
- Metabolic syndrome
- Mental stress and depression
- Lack of physical activity
- Low levels of estrogen after menopause
- Pregnancy complications
If you have any questions about heart disease talk to your primary care physician. If you are interested in learning more about heart disease online check out, the MayoClinic, the CDC, or MedlinePlus.
If you are experiencing any chest pain or any of the aforementioned symptoms; call 911 for emergency services, or seek emergency medical care immediately at the nearest emergency room.