In the past, heart disease was widely regarded as a “man’s disease”, but recently, medical research has revealed that poor heart health is the one of most common causes of death among women. Compared to men, women are at a greater risk of dying from heart attacks or strokes, and they may experience certain symptoms that are not known to occur in men. However, cardiovascular diseases can be prevented and treated, and women should learn more about their heart health, so that they can take the necessary precautions to prevent heart diseases from becoming a serious threat.
Women and Heart Diseases
Here are a number of alarming facts about the impact of heart diseases on women:
- Women are approximately 10 times more likely to pass away because of heart disease than any other type of disease.
- Women are about 6 times more likely to pass away because of heart disease than breast cancer.
- Heart disease causes more deaths among women aged 65 and above than all kinds of cancer combined.
- One out of every 8 women who are between 45 to 65 years old is living with heart disease.
- One out of 4 women who are above 65 years old suffers from some form of heart disease.
Causes of Heart Disease in Women
There are a number of health problems and unhealthy habits that can increase the risk of heart disease. It is known that high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes can contribute to the development of heart disease in women. Also, women are more susceptible to heart disease than men several years after they have reached menopause. Menopause results in a decrease in estrogen levels, and it also increases blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Other risk factors for cardiovascular disease in women include smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, stress and depression, poverty and family history.
Signs of Heart Disease in Women
For men, the initial sign of cardiovascular disease is usually chest pain, but women may experience a variety of symptoms. Women with heart disease will feel discomfort or vague pain in the chest, back, arms and neck, and this discomfort can be described as a heaviness, tightness or burning sensation. This symptom may appear and disappear for months or years before it is diagnosed. Other initial symptoms of cardiovascular disease in women include breathing difficulty, nausea, dizziness and fatigue.
Treatment for Heart Disease in Women
Once a woman is diagnosed with heart disease, her doctor will recommend a treatment method that suits her needs. Treatment can come in the form of medication, surgery, lifestyle changes and others. There are also cardiovascular rehabilitation programs that can help people to overcome their heart problems by promoting healthy eating, exercising and stress reduction.
Prevention of Heart Disease
The best way for women to prevent heart disease is to keep track of their heart health. They should make sure that they maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and take blood tests to find out if their hearts are in good condition. Other recommended prevention measures include smoking cessation, reduction of alcohol intake, stress management, a heart-healthy diet and regular exercise.