Increase Your Awareness of Heart Disease in Women
There’s a lot to celebrate in the month of February! This month is also American Heart Month, so it’s an appropriate time to consider the importance of making a commitment to healthy living and minimizing your risk of heart disease. This is particularly important for women because many women fail to realize the severity of this health threat, which can often go undetected. Yet, heart disease remains the Number 1 cause of death for women in the U.S. and, in fact, more women die from heart disease than all cancers combined.
Women serve many roles and are often responsible for making sure everyone else is taken care of. In the process, many women tend to neglect their own care and ignore signs of illness and other signals their bodies give them. Many women who experience symptoms of heart disease may attribute their symptoms to other causes, such as stress.
For women, risk factors associated with heart disease include the following:
💖Lack of exercise
💖High blood pressure
💖Obesity or being overweight
💖Family history of cardiovascular disease
💖Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions
Much of the widespread information concerning heart disease, particularly heart attack, is typically more relevant to men. As a result, many women are simply unaware of the ways in which heart disease and heart attack symptoms are manifested in women. Severe chest pain is probably viewed as the most recognizable characteristic of a heart attack, but women sometimes don’t have chest pain at all.
The following heart attack warning signs are too often ignored by women, but should be addressed immediately.
An overwhelming feeling that something is wrong, or feeling unsettled and/or fearful for no apparent reason
Panting or the inability to hold a conversation
Flu-like symptoms and feeling so tired that it may be too difficult to lift common items like a laptop
Nausea and/or dizziness
Vomiting or feeling at risk of losing consciousness
Less severe pain in the upper back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or stomach
Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping soundly
Sudden and profuse amounts of perspiration for no obvious reason
The symptoms may be mild or strong, may start slowly, and can stop and then come back. Even if you are unsure of your symptoms, don’t wait to go to the ER for fear of being bothersome. Insist on being seen without delay. The sooner you receive treatment, the greater your chances of surviving a serious cardiac incident.