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Women and Heart Disease: What You Need to Know

Updated: Apr 25


Heart disease, the leading cause of death for women, is a word that can refer to several types of conditions, including:

TYPE

DESCRIPTION

SYMPTOMS (including, but not limited to)

​Coronary Heart Disease (also called Coronary Artery Disease-CAD)

​A disease of the major blood vessels that help the heart muscle function

​Heart Attack

​A loss of blood flow to the heart muscle that causes part of the tissue to die

​Chest pain or discomfort, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, dizziness, stomach pain and shortness of breath

​Heart Failure

​When your heart is unable to pump blood efficiently to your body

​Shortness of breath, fatigue, or swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or neck veins

​Arrhythmia

​ Heart beats can be too fast, too slow, or irregular.

Fluttering feelings in the chest/palpitations.​

​Angina

​Lack of blood flow to the heart

​Dull and heavy or sharp chest pain or discomfort

Women can also experience the following symptoms, with our without the symptoms mentioned above

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Fatigue

  • Shortness of breath

Women with CAD are more likely than men to feel chest pain from mental stress.


Chest pain while resting or doing daily activities (as opposed to during exercise) is more common in women with CAD than men with CAD.


It's important to remember that some women may have heart disease with no symptoms.


That's why it's important for you as a woman to

  • manage your stress

  • maintain a healthy blood pressure

  • monitor for diabetes

  • quit smoking

  • limit alcohol consumption to one drink daily

  • maintain a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise

  • have cholesterol and triglycerides levels checked

Please seek emergency medical care if you are currently experiencing any of these heart disease symptoms:

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fainting

Always call 911 or emergency medical help if you think you might be having a heart attack.


The earlier heart disease is detected, the sooner treatment can start and the more damage can be prevented.

 

Sources:


https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/women.htm#print


https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353118


https://medlineplus.gov/heartdiseaseinwomen.html

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