Women and Heart Diseases

By Nayan, Team VOH

16 Apr,2018


Women and Heart Diseases

A wise man once said, “Men are what their mothers made them.”  This Mother’s Day, as we celebrate motherhood, let us talk about a medical condition that has been the most fatal one for mothers, indeed for all women – Heart Diseases

 

Worldwide, heart disease continues to affect the most number of adult women. Though coronary artery disease affects both men and women, broken heart syndrome and coronary micro-vascular disease are seen primarily in women.  Fortunately, women can easily begin reducing the risk factors related to heart ailments by taking certain steps to understand such ailments’ unique symptoms.

 

Risk Factors for Heart Disease in Women

 

The traditional risk factors of high blood pressure, high cholesterol remain the same for men and women, but some factors play a bigger role for women.

 

  • Diabetes - Diabetes plays a more significant role in causing heart disease and blockages in women compared to men.

 

  • Depression and stress - Mental illness affects the hearts of women more than men. Furthermore, women often have atypical symptoms of heart disease that are often overlooked along with the underlying mental illness.

 

  • Smoking - Compared to men this is a bigger risk factor in women.

 

  • Menopause - After menopause, there are hormonal changes that increase the risk of heart disease, especially micro-vascular disease – the disease related to smaller blood vessels.

 

  • Pregnancy - High blood pressure and diabetes during pregnancy can increase the risk of these conditions in the future. In very rare cases, the stress of pregnancy can cause the heart muscle to weaken - a condition called "peri-partum cardiomyopathy".

 

  • Broken Heart Syndrome - The condition is precipitated after exposure to a stressful or traumatic incident. This causes the heart muscles to weaken causing heart failure. The condition is often seen after menopause and there are no blockages in the blood vessels. It is medically called "Takasubo Cardiomyopathy" or "Apical Ballooning Syndrome" or "Stress Cardiomyopathy".

 

Symptoms of Heart Diseases

 

Compared to men, women tend to have more atypical and subtle symptoms of heart disease that are often ignored. This is because women tend to have blockages not only in the bigger main vessels but also in the smaller vessels.

 

Although many women will have the classic crushing chest pain, which is often thought of as the typical sign of a heart attack, at least one-third of women will have atypical symptoms or no symptoms at all. Following are some such atypical symptoms:

 

  •  Unusual or extreme tiredness

 

  •  Feeling dizzy or lightheaded

 

  •  Upper body discomfort or indigestion (back pain, jaw pain without any chest pain or pressure)

 

  •  Sweating

 

  •  Nausea or vomiting

 

  •  Palpitations

 

  •  Trouble sleeping

 

  •  Sudden anxiety or confusion 

 

It is strongly advised that you urgently seek medical consultation from a cardiologist if you or one of your loved ones is having any of the symptoms we just talked about. Early detection and timely precautions can help restrain the onset of heart diseases to a large extent.

 

Related Articles: 

1. Healthy Habits That Can Keep Your Heart Healthy

2. But I Thought it was Indigestion? Tips to Identify Cardiac Pain

3. Healthy Diet for a Happy Heart

4. Cardiac Arrest vs Heart Attack: A Doctor Explains the Difference

  

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.


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