The more a woman knows about heart disease, the more likely she is to overcome it. The first data you should know is very serious: heart disease and stroke cause one in every three deaths in women, more than all cancers combined. Fortunately, we can change that because 80% of cardiac events and strokes can be prevented through education and action.
Go Red For Women inspires women to change their way of life, mobilize communities and develop policies to save lives. Together we are working to improve the health of all women.
The Symptoms of Heart Attack for Women
The most common heart attack syndrome in women is a type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But it is not always difficult or evens the most important symptom, especially in women. And sometimes, women can have a heart attack without chest pain. Women have more symptoms than men of heart attack that is not related to chest pain bellow those:
- Malaise, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in one or both arms
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Unusual tiredness
These symptoms may be more subtle than the obvious chest pain often associated with heart attacks. Women may describe chest pain as pressure or oppression. This may be because women have a blockage, not only in their main arteries but also in the small arteries that supply the heart with blood, called small vessel heart disease or coronary microvascular disease.
Women’s symptoms can occur more often when women are resting or even sleeping. Mental stress can also trigger heart attack symptoms in women.
Women often go to emergencies after heart damage has already occurred, because their symptoms are not associated with a heart attack, and because women can minimize their symptoms. If these symptoms occur or if you have a heart attack, seek immediate medical attention. Do not drive in the emergency room unless you have other options.
Living with Heart Disease
Like anyone who has had a heart attack, it is natural to think that no one understands what is happening. But there is no reason to believe that you are fighting alone in this fight. There are many resources available to help you grow and prepare for a healthy life.
For some, like Lidia Morales, this has helped her to accept her diagnosis and to be more optimistic about her future. “I show people the scar of my surgery and tell them it’s my beauty mark because this experience taught me a lot about my life,” says Lidia.
When you are living with heart disease, the most important thing to realize is that the future does not have to look dark. Read on to learn how to give advice to your doctor, make positive changes in your lifestyle, and where to find the support you need to live a full and productive lifestyle.
Risk Factors for Heart Disease in Women
Although some of the traditional risk factors for coronary heart diseases, such as high cholesterol, hypertension, and obesity, affect women and men, other factors may play a more important role in the development of heart disease in the women. For example, risk factors may include:
- Diabetes. Women with diabetes have a higher risk of heart disease than men with diabetes.
- Mental stress and depression. Women’s hearts are more affected by stress and depression than men. Depression makes it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle and adherence to the recommended treatment. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of depression.
- Smoke. In women, smoking is a more important risk factor for heart disease in women than in men.
- Inactivity. Lack of physical activity is a major risk factor for heart disease, and some research has shown that women are less active than men.
- Menopause. Low estrogen levels after menopause are an important risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease in small blood vessels (coronary artery disease).
- Broken heart syndrome. This condition, which is often triggered by stressful situations that can cause severe but especially transient muscle failure, is more common in postmenopausal women. This condition can also be called cardiomyopathy, apical balloon formation syndrome or stress cardiomyopathy.
- The complications of pregnancy. High blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy can increase the risk of hypertension and diabetes in women and increase the risk of heart disease in the mother.
Some studies have shown that your children may be at increased risk of heart disease in the future if you have complications such as high blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy.
Women with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus may also have an increased risk of heart disease. Other risk factors for heart disease in women are studied in more detail.
What can Women do to reduce their Risk of Heart Disease?
If women want several lifestyles they can do to reduce the risk of heart disease, including:
- Go out or do not smoke.
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat a healthy diet that includes whole grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables, low-fat or non-fat dairy products, and lean meats. Avoid saturated or Trans fatty acids, added sugars and high levels of salt.
- Take vitamin- You can take multivitamin for women that can give you extra energy and can remove various disease that are related with heart disease.
Women should also take appropriate prescriptions such as blood pressure medications, blood thinners, and aspirin. And they need to cope better with other conditions that are risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.