Cardiovascular disease is more prevalent among men than in women, but more women are known to succumb to heart disease every year. When the arteries of heart narrow due to the slow accumulation of fat, cholesterol and plague, the circulation of blood and oxygen supply to the heart muscles get hindered, and in turn leads to heart attack.
Though the functioning of heart is same in men and women, the symptoms of heart disease can vary among them. We are tuned to seeing a person clutching chest when having an attack. Unfortunately, though immense pressure on chest is a common symptom of heart attack, many women are known to have heart attack without chest pressure. Hence the woman may not realize that she is having a heart attack, thus delaying help which can prove fatal.
Signs and Symptoms
Experiencing a heavy pressure on the chest, as though an elephant has accidently landed there is one of the most horrifying experiences any heart attack survivor can recall. Apart from that women can have some unique signs and symptoms indicating a heart attack which could be
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in lower chest
- Pain in upper abdomen
- Fainting spell
- Pressure felt on upper back
- Extreme fatigue
- Discomfort or pain in arms, jaw, or neck
- Sudden breaking of cold sweating spell
- Nausea and vomiting
- Discomfort and pressure in chest
One of the reasons why women become victims of heart attack is that their symptoms are more subtle and may not be related to crushing chest pain which is expected in such cases. Women tend to suffer to micro-vascular disease which is blockages of smaller arteries that carry blood to the heart. By the time women recognize the heart problem and land in hospital, the heart may have suffered irreparable damage.
Prevention Is Better than Cure
High cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity increase the chances of heart diseases in everyone though there are some other specific factors that can increase the risk of cardiovascular problem only in women.
Stress, depression, smoking and metabolic syndrome are known to affect the heart condition of women more than it does in men. The hormonal changes after menopause, when the estrogen levels fall also are also responsible for micro-vascular disease in women. Therefore, women should take extra care of their heart to remain healthy.
Following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, avoiding smoking and following regular check-ups with doctor for any signs of heart disease can help women manage their cardio health. Women have to keep an eye on their weight not only for aesthetic purpose, but also to keep away heart attacks. Conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol levels should be treated on time with proper medications and therapies.
Alcohol consumption should be avoided or limited to healthy amounts. Aspirin is known to help in preventing heart attacks, therefore ask your doctor whether you need to take aspirin regularly.
Learning to recognize the signs and symptoms of heart attack is very important in saving lives. A woman should not only be able to know that she is having an attack, but be prepared with a plan to handle the situation properly. The first few hours after the heart attack pay very crucial role in saving lives, so do not waste time if you feel an attack in coming on.