It is commonly believed that heart disease is more associated with men than women. However, women who succumb to heart diseases are more than the men annually.
Heart disease in women has unique symptoms different from those exhibited in men. This uniqueness of the symptoms is a challenge that perhaps makes it more difficult to track the disease. It is refreshing to know that symptoms of heart disease in women can be learnt and understood, so that women can take precautionary measures.
Heart attack signs in women
Chest pains are the most common symptoms of heart disease in women. Others experience discomfort and pressure inside the chest.
This pain is not prominent or severe. Unlike men, women can have other symptoms away from the chest that point to the presence of a heart disease. These unique symptoms of heart disease in women include:
- Discomfort in the stomach, neck, upper back and shoulders
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Unusual tiredness
These symptoms are less noticeable than the chest pains that are traditionally linked to heart problems. Women have blood blockage in the smaller blood vessels not only in the main ones.
This results in what is known as micro vascular disease or minor vessel heart attack. Many women are taken to hospital in serious conditions for being oblivious to symptoms of heart disease in women that herald a major heart attack. Do not attempt to drive yourself to hospital except where you can’t call for help or there is no one to drive you.
Heart disease risk factors unique to women
It is common knowledge that heart disease in women as well as in men can be caused by obesity, increased blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol. However some factors are unique with heart attack in women. These include:
- A woman who smokes is more vulnerable to a heart attack than a man who smokes.
- Women who have reached menopause run a high risk of getting a micro vascular heart attack because of low levels of estrogen.
- Metabolic syndromeaffects women more than it does men.
- Depression and mental stress is another factor that has more serious effects in women than in men.
Can younger women get heart disease?
Women from families with cases of heart attacks under the age of 65 have higher chance of getting heart attack than those from families with no such history. At all ages, women should be alert for symptoms of heart diseases in them.
Steps to reduce the chances of a heart disease
- If you smoke, quit the habit or do not start it if you do not smoke
Do not be overweight
- Take some exercises every day for about half an hour
- Watch your diet and eat only healthy food
If you are on any medication to control the heart disease problem you should follow the doctor’s instructions accordingly. Those women who have conditions such as diabetes that can contribute to heart disease should manage them well.