2.4 min readPublished On: April 1, 2024

Women and Heart Disease: Understanding the Risks and Taking Action

Heart disease remains a significant threat to women’s health, with over 60 million women in the United States living with some form of cardiovascular illness. Shockingly, heart disease claims the lives of more women than all forms of cancer combined, making it the leading cause of death among women in the US, responsible for approximately one in every five female deaths in 2021. Despite these alarming statistics, research reveals that only about half of US women recognize heart disease as their primary killer.

Understanding the nuances of heart disease, including its various types, symptoms, and risk factors, is crucial for women to safeguard their health and seek appropriate treatment when necessary.

Coronary artery disease stands out as the most prevalent form of heart disease in women, characterized by the buildup of plaque in the arteries supplying blood to the heart and other organs. Hormonal changes post-menopause increases women’s susceptibility to this condition.

Arrhythmia, another common heart ailment, refers to irregular heartbeats—either too slow, too fast, or erratic in pattern. A notable example is atrial fibrillation. Heart failure, though severe, doesn’t signify the cessation of heart function, but rather the heart’s inability to pump enough blood to support bodily organs adequately.

Symptoms of heart disease in women can vary, with some experience no noticeable signs. However, symptoms such as angina (chest discomfort or ache), neck or jaw pain, upper abdominal or back pain, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness could indicate a heart attack and necessitate immediate medical attention. Similarly, fluttering sensations in the chest (palpitations) or sudden onset of fatigue, shortness of breath, or swelling in the extremities require prompt evaluation.

Several risk factors predispose women to heart disease, including high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol consumption stress, and depression. Moreover, age plays a significant role, with the risk escalating, particularly among people of color and those over 65.

Alarmingly, heart disease can strike women at relatively. Young age, with nearly 20% of fatalities occurring in individuals under 65. Pregnant women with high blood pressure face double the risk of developing heart disease later in life compared to their counterparts with this condition.

Considering these facts, raising awareness about heart disease in women and promoting proactive measures for prevention and early detection is paramount. By undertesting the risk, recognizing symptoms, and adopting healthy lifestyle choices, women can take charge of their heart health and reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in their lives.

Seeing a cardiologist at Lorven Heart and Vascular will compassionately and proactively help take care of your heart that leads to enjoying a longer quality of life.

About the Author: Lorven Heart

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