Were you expecting this to be an entry about breast cancer? That is not surprising.
Many people are not aware that the number one disease that claims women’s lives is heart disease.
Women who have heart disease are often undiagnosed because the symptoms of heart disease in women are not the same as the symptoms in men.
For example, for men a heart attack often feels like an incredible sensation of pain and pressure in the chest. Women are more likely to experience pain across the top of their abdomen.
Women who are diagnosed with heart disease may not receive optimal treatment because most research studies in the past have been conducted only on men.
While men typically develop heart disease earlier, they tend to live longer with heart disease than women do. Before menopause, women’s bodies produce estrogen, which helps prevent heart disease.
After menopause when estrogen levels drop is when most women experience their first symptoms.
A regular EKG should be part of every woman’s annual physical beginning around menopause, or earlier if there are other risk factors for heart disease.
These include a family history of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, elevated cholesterol levels, and obesity.