Heart Disease and Women – Know the Facts


Did you know that the leading cause of death for women in the United States is heart disease?  In fact, heart disease claims the lives of one out of three women every year.  One of the misunderstandings about heart disease and women is that symptoms are typically different than those experienced by men. Because of this, women often ignore symptoms or delay seeking treatment. 

The most common heart attack symptom in women is some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest.  But it’s not always severe or even the most noticeable symptom. And, sometimes women may have a heart attack without feeling chest pain at all.  Other symptoms that can be more subtle than the obvious severe chest pain include:

  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or stomach discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in one or both arms
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual fatigue

And, unlike men, heart attack symptoms in women occur more often when they are resting or even while they’re asleep.

Becoming aware of the symptoms and understanding your risk of a heart attack can help protect you.   High cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity are risk factors that affect both men and women.  Other factors include:

  • Diabetes
  • Mental stress and depression
  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Unhealthy or high fat diet    

What can you do to reduce your risk of developing heart disease?  Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and the diet and lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk. And, what can you do if you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease? The Advanced Illness Management Program of Home Health VNA can provide innovative treatment options, teach you about your medications and help you manage and improve symptoms. To request our free guide, Caring for Your Heart, or to learn more about the Advanced Illness Management Program of Home Health VNA click here.

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