Cardiovascular disease is a class of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels (arteries, capillaries and veins).
Few people seem to consider cardiovascular disease as a disease that affects women however according to the American Heart Association’ cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of women over age 25.
It kills nearly twice as many women in the United States than all types of cancer, including breast cancer. Only 13 percent of women think heart disease is a threat to their health.
The misleading notion that heart disease is not a real problem for women can be blamed in part on medical research. For a very long time, heart disease studies have focused primarily on men. Changes are under way, but some doctors still fail to recognize the warning signs displayed by female patients.
Studies have shown that women may have undiagnosed warning signs weeks, months, and even years before having a heart attack.
Significant differences may exist in the symptoms displayed by women and men. Men typically experience the “classic” heart attack signs: tightness in the chest, arm pain, and shortness of breath.
Women’s symptoms may resemble those of men, but on occasion nausea, an overwhelming fatigue, and dizziness are the main symptoms and are ignored or chalked up to stress. Women have reported that they have had a hard time getting their doctors to listen to them about these early warning symptoms.
Cardiovascular diseases remain the biggest cause of deaths worldwide, though over the last two decades, cardiovascular mortality rates have declined in many high-income countries.
At the same time cardiovascular deaths and disease have increased at an astonishingly fast rate in low- and middle-income countries.
Some of the causes include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, excessive use of alcohol or caffeine according to the Mayo Clinic website.
In order to modify the risk factors, women should be eating healthy, exercising, maintaining a reasonable weight and avoiding smoking cigarettes for those who do.