If you’ve been thinking heart disease is mainly a manly thing, then here is some news that may jolt you.
After age 65, the risk of heart disease in women is almost the same as men. Women tend to die more of their heart disease than men and it may be related to it being under recognized, given that women can present heart disease differently than men.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among American women, killing more than a third of those who die annually. But because attention and research over many years has focused largely on male heart problems, women have been historically under-diagnosed and treated.
The good news is, that focus is changing. Many health agencies have been working hard to get the word out regarding heart disease symptoms and risk factors in women.
According to the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, 42.7 million women in America are living with some form of cardiovascular disease, including 7.5 million women suffering from coronary heart disease.
More women than men die of cardiovascular disease each year – 26 percent of women will die within one year of a recognized first heart attack, compared to 19 percent of men. And women are still less likely than men to receive appropriate treatment, the coalition states.
Women who have appropriate information on the causes of heart disease have the opportunity to ask questions of health care professionals and make healthy lifestyle choices that can significantly cut down their health risks.
It is important that women know what to look for and act when the signs and symptoms of a heart attack present themselves.
For more information on women and heart disease, visit womenshealth.gov.
Recognize the Signs
There are several health issues that may indicate heart disease in women. They include:
Fatigue, even after resting all night
Shortness of breath
Discomfort in the arm and chest
Feeling scared or nervous
New or worsening headaches
Women experiencing any of those symptoms should tell their doctor they are concerned about their heart.
Signs of a heart attack in women can be the same as those commonly associated with male heart attacks, including arm, neck, back and jaw pain as well as nausea and shortness of breath. But women may also experience less common and more subtle signs, such as:
Loss of appetite
Feeling weak or tired
An achy, tight or “heavy” feeling in the chest or back
Breaking out in a cold sweat
The more heart attack signs that are present, the higher the likelihood of a heart problem. Do not wait longer than five minutes to see a doctor.