Many people think of heart diseases as a man’s problem but women can and do get heart disease. In fact, heart disease is the number one killer of women especially in the United States. It is also a leading cause of disability among women.
The most common cause of heart disease is narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart itself. It’s the major reason people have heart attacks. Prevention is important; two-thirds of women who have a heart attack fail to make a full recovery.
Heart attack symptoms for women
The most common heart attack symptom in women is some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But it’s not always severe or even the most prominent symptom, particularly in women.
Women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as neck, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort, shortness of breath,nausea,sweating, dizziness and unusual fatigue.
Many women tend to show up in emergency rooms after much heart damage has already occurred because their symptoms are not those typically associated with a heart attack. If you experience these symptoms or think you’re having a heart attack, call for emergency medical help immediately.
What can women do to reduce their risk of heart disease?
There are several lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of heart disease:
Exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day on most days of the week.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Quit or don’t start smoking.
Eat a diet that’s low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt.
You’ll also need to take prescribed medications appropriately, such as blood pressure medications, blood thinners and aspirin.
Source; medline plus and Mayo Clinic website