Many believe that it is men that are primarily at risk of heart disease, but they are sadly mistaken.
According to the CDC – Women and Heart Disease Fact Sheet, heart disease is also the #1 cause of death in women. In fact, since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease.
Heart Disease Facts For Women
The biggest killer of women all over the world is cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke. The two diseases are responsible for killing 8.6 million women each year, which amounts to 1/3 of all deaths worldwide.
Many are amazed to hear that in the US, heart disease is the number 1 killer of women. They are even more astounded to hear that heart disease is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.
While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease with a death approximately every one minute.
Those are scary numbers!
An estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease and 90% of all women have at least one or more risk factors for developing it.
Even though there’s been an increase of awareness over the past 10 years or so, only 54% of women, that’s 1 in 5, actually realize that their #1 killer is heart disease.
No previous Symptoms
Nearly 64% of women who end up suddenly dying of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms at the time of their death. Yes, you can be at risk for heart disease even if you are not presently displaying any symptoms.
Symptoms Differ Between Women and Men
One of the contributing factors in the number of deaths is that the symptoms of heart disease can be different in women and men, and are often misunderstood.
While there are some women who do not display any symptoms whatsoever, there are others who experience angina, which is a dull chest pain and/or discomfort that can be heavy to sharp in nature, pain in their upper back or abdomen or pain in their neck/throat/jaw.
These pains can occur while you are resting, when you begin any physical activity or they can also be triggered by mental stress.
Women in general are more likely to describe their chest pain as sharp and burning, and they are more frequently prone to pain in their jaw, neck, throat, back, or abdomen.
Heart disease symptoms can sometimes be completely silent. The disease may not be diagnosed until a woman begins experiencing signs and/or symptoms of a heart conditions such as heart failure, heart attack, a heart arrhythmia or a stroke.
Symptoms Of Heart Disease In Women
Symptoms of a heart attack may include:
- Discomfort and/or pain in your chest
- Pain in the upper back
- Upper body discomfort
- Extreme fatigue
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms of an arrhythmia may include:
Fluttering feelings in your chest (heart palpitations)
Symptoms of heart failure may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of your ankles/feet/legs/abdomen
Symptoms of a stroke may include:
- A sudden weakness, or paralysis (unable to move)
- Numbness of the face/legs/arms especially on one particular side of your body
- Trouble speaking and/or understanding speech
- Difficulty seeing out of either one or both eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Sudden, and severe headache
Heart disease is scary, particularly if there may/may not be any symptoms announcing a problem.
Do you know if you are a risk for heart disease? If you don’t, read through the list below and take steps to correct the things you can.
Key Risk Factors For Heart Disease
These are significant risk factors for heart disease in women. Nearly half of all Americans (about 49%) have at least one of the three key risk factors, and 90% of women have at least one risk factor.
- High blood pressure
- High levels of LDL cholesterol
Lifestyle choices and medical conditions may also increase the risk for heart disease in women, these include:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Physical inactivity
- Poor diet
- Overweight and/or obesity
Prevention Is The Key
Regular screenings, blood tests, and healthy lifestyle choices go a long way in preventing heart disease and its repercussions.
Many times women take care of everybody else before taking care of themselves. Are you guilty of that?
Don’t wait too long; don’t wait until it’s too late. Take the time to take care of yourself, your heart and your health, starting today!