Thursday, February 25, 2016
Do you know what causes heart disease in women? What about the survival rate? Or whether women of all ethnicities share the same risk?
The fact is: Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute!
But it doesn’t affect all women alike, and the warning signs for women aren’t the same in men. What’s more: These facts only begin to scratch the surface.
There are a several misconceptions about heart disease in women, and they could be putting you at risk. The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health for this very reason. In this section, we’ll arm you with the facts and dispel some myths – because the truth can no longer be ignored.
by the Go Red For Women Editors
Sweating. Pressure. Nausea. Jaw pain. Believe it or not, these are all symptoms of a heart attack in women. They are also symptoms that women often brush off as the flu, stress or simply feeling under the weather—which could put their lives in jeopardy.
“I really couldn’t believe this happened to me,” says survivor Amy Heinl. “I thought of myself as a healthy person, and was exercising when [my heart attack] happened.”
Whether it’s disbelief, lack of awareness or misdiagnosis, dismissing the symptoms of a heart attack can delay critical, life-saving actions. Being able to recognize the warning signs and act quickly, however, can save a life.
Heart attacks occur when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked by a buildup of plaque in coronary arteries. While the initial causation can often be pinned on the usual suspects—heavy smokers, people with high-stress lifestyles, or those who are excessively overweight—the not-so-usual suspects can also be at high risk for heart attack.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, which is why it is imperative that women learn the warning signs and symptoms, see a doctor regularly, and learn their family history.
As with men, the most common heart attack symptom in women is chest pain or discomfort. But it’s important to note that women are more likely to experience the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
If you experience any of these signs or symptoms:
Women who consider themselves healthy often misdiagnose the symptoms of a heart attack because they don’t think it could happen to them. That is why it’s crucial to learn about heart disease and stroke, know your numbers, live a heart-healthy lifestyle and be aware of the risk factors of heart disease.