Women & Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women over the age of 25 in the United States. More than 400,000 women die each year due to cardiovascular disease. The death rate from cardiovascular disease increases with age for women, especially after menopause. Cardiovascular disease has claimed the lives of more women than men since 1984 and is responsible for the deaths of more women than the next three causes of death combined, including cancer. One out of every three women in the United States will die each year as a result of cardiovascular disease.
Symptoms of Cardiovascular Disease in Women
The cardiovascular symptoms that women experience are different from those experienced by men. Women tend to have blockages in the smaller arteries that supply blood to their heart and typically have the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain or discomfort in the upper chest - neck, shoulder, jaw, upper back, stomach
- Cold sweat
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
If you experience any of the above symptoms, seek medical treatment immediately. Women are less likely than men to receive proper treatment after a heart attack, so it is important to get to the emergency room at the earliest signs.
Reducing the Risks of Cardiovascular Disease in Women
The following lifestyle changes may help reduce a woman's risk for developing cardiovascular disease:
- Quitting smoking
- Eating a heart-healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Managing weight
- Avoiding Stress
- Regulating diabetes
- Monitoring blood pressure
While there is no surefire way to prevent heart disease, following these and other steps can significantly reduce your risks, as well as improve your overall health.