Pomerene Hospital Blog
Ladies, Show Your Heart Some Love
In the United States 1 in 4 women will die from heart disease and it is the leading cause of disability among women. The most common cause of heart disease is narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries (blood vessels) surrounding the heart. After menopause a woman's risk of heart attack increases 2-3- times and equals that of men. But women of all ages should be concerned about heart disease, especially if close family members have heart disease.
While death rates from heart disease have dropped in the last 30 years, they have not dropped as much in women as in men. Women also have more difficulty in making a full recovery following a heart attack than men.
Although the traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease affect women and men, other factors may play a bigger role in the development of heart disease in women. The following risk factors have a greater impact on women than men.
Although the traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease affect women and men, other factors may play a bigger role in the development of heart disease in women. The following risk factors have a greater impact on women than men:
- Metabolic syndrome, a combination of fat around your abdomen, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high triglycerides.
- Mental stress and depression
- Decreasing levels of estrogen after menopause pose a significant risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease in the smaller blood vessels surrounding the heart.
Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack
The classic signs and symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain, jaw pain, indigestion, and pain radiating down the left arm. However, the symptoms of a heart attack often vary with women. While the most common symptom remains chest pain, other symptoms may include indigestion, pain in the upper abdomen and pain under the shoulder blade or fatigue.
When these atypical signs and symptoms occur, they are often not recognized as symptoms of a heart attack and treatment may be delayed resulting in a poorer outcome. Heart and vascular disease has claimed more women's lives than men since 1984. The good news is that you can control many heart disease risk factors. All women can take steps to prevent heart disease by practicing the following health lifestyle habits:
- Have a physical every year. Discuss your family history and your risk factors with your doctor.
- Know your numbers. Have your blood pressure, cholesterol (total, HDL, LDL, triglycerides), and blood glucose checked yearly and work with your doctor to improve any numbers that are abnormal.
- Don't smoke and if you do, quit. Smoking increases risk for heart attack 2- 6 times. Smoking also increases the risk of stroke and cancer.
- Aim for healthy weight. Overweight and obesity cause many preventable deaths.
- Get moving. Be more physically active. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most, preferable all, days of the week.
- Eat for heart health. Choose a diet low in saturated fat, trans-fat, and cholesterol.
How Can Pomerene Help You?
Please visit Pomerene Hospital's Holmes County Cardiology Services for more information. You are just one step away from a healthier heart!
Blog written by Joel Chupp, RN, BSN, RVT