According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the top cause of death in the United States for both men and women. In fact, an American dies from cardiovascular disease every 37 seconds. A heart attack occurs every 40 seconds, totaling an estimated 805,000 Americans suffering a heart attack each year.
As if those statistics aren’t startling enough, one in five Americans has a silent heart attack, occurring without any significant symptoms and leaving the heart damaged by an unnoticed event. Because heart disease is indiscriminate, affecting people of both sexes and most races and ethnicities, it’s important for everyone to learn about heart health.
Although heart disease is an equal opportunity offender, the symptoms and outcomes for women can be much different than they are for men. In this blog, our highly skilled team at Cardio Metabolic Institute shares what every woman should know about heart health.
Heart attack symptoms differ between women and men
The differences in heart attack symptoms and risk factors set the stage for the gender gap in outcomes. When you think of someone having a heart attack, you generally picture someone having intense chest pain.
Although both men and women can experience this classic heart attack symptom, women generally exhibit a combination of two or more symptoms that can be mistaken for unrelated medical problems.
Women are more prone than men to exhibit heart attack symptoms such as jaw pain, nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness, or severe tiredness or fatigue. Because women suffering from these somewhat vague symptoms may not immediately recognize them as heart attack symptoms, they’re less likely to call 911 or seek care when they experience them.
Heart attacks kill more women than breast cancer does
Perhaps because their symptoms can go untreated or undiagnosed as a heart attack, women are more likely to have heart damage and not know it until it’s too late.
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease kills one woman every minute in the United States, resulting in one out of every three deaths each year compared to one in 31 deaths from breast cancer each year. Knowing more about heart disease and heart attack symptoms can literally save a woman’s life.
Heart-healthy habits greatly reduce your heart disease risks
Although the statistics are quite sobering, the good news is that women can battle the odds by knowing the facts and myths and reducing their risks and by making lifestyle changes. Although you can’t control having a family history of heart disease, numerous lifestyle changes can greatly alter your chances of developing heart disease yourself.
Chief among these heart-healthy habits are eating healthy and maintaining a healthy weight. Ditch the fat laden food in your diet and replace it with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meat, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like nuts, seeds, and cold-water fatty fish like salmon and tuna. Exercising regularly and managing your blood sugar and cholesterol levels also goes far in reducing your heart disease risks as will not smoking.
If you think you’ve suffered from a heart attack or have concerns about your heart health, make an appointment at Cardio Metabolic Institute in Somerset, Monroe Township, or East Brunswick, New Jersey. Our practice was established on a proud history of focusing on the comprehensive treatment of cardiovascular disease. For an appointment at the office nearest you, click or call today.