Women and Heart Disease: Managing the Risk and How to Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Do you know that cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in both men and women? But, of course, women are included! Once thought to be solely a man's disease, cardiovascular disease has always afflicted women, and the statistics are startling. Many women believe breast cancer is the leading cause of death, but heart disease and stroke kill more women than all cancers combined.
Cardiovascular disease, which includes strokes and heart disease, favors no one. Women unquestionably need more education, as the more a woman knows about heart disease, the better her chances of beating it. Unfortunately, few women are aware of their risk factors, and even fewer are aware of what to do about them. Let's look at some of the symptoms of heart disease in women.
Symptoms of Heart Diseases in Women
Many women have no symptoms of heart disease until they experience a severe medical emergency, such as a heart attack. Early signs of heart disease in women may include:
Chest Pain: Women's chest pain is frequently described as pressure, tightness, or an ache. However, women frequently do not experience severe pain during an attack. When chest pain occurs, it typically manifests as discomfort in the chest that lasts a few minutes and may come and go. As a result, every woman should take minor chest pain more seriously.
Breathing Problems: This could happen at the same time as or before you experience chest pain. Women tend to experience shortness of breath frequently, but those who experience shortness of breath have a greater possibility of suffering from heart disease than those who do not.
Other symptoms include
- Pain in the arms, the neck, the back, or the jaw
- Dizziness, nausea, and lightheadedness.
- Fatigue and weakness
- Skin color changes, such as grayish skin
Risk Factors of Heart Disease in Women
Different traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease affect both men and women. However, some are more crucial in developing heart disease in women. Women's heart disease risk factors include:
Diabetes increases the risk factor for heart disease in women more than in men. Furthermore, because diabetes can alter how women perceive pain, there is an increased risk of having a silent heart attack—one without symptoms.
- Blood pressure levels
High blood pressure is a critical medical condition that can result in heart disease, heart attacks, and heart failure. If this continues, the arterial walls will thicken, resulting in arterial plaque. A regular blood pressure reading is less than 120/80, while a high blood pressure reading is more significant than 140/90.
- Depression and emotional stress
Women's hearts are frequently more affected by stress and depression than men's. Therefore, it may be challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle and adhere to recommended treatment for other health conditions if you are depressed.
Smoking is a more excellent risk factor for heart disease in women than men. Therefore, making a healthy decision to quit smoking is essential. Unfortunately, it is not easy, and you will most likely experience withdrawal symptoms, often leading to people resuming smoking. However, many programs and treatments are available to help you cope better.
Physical inactivity is a significant risk factor for heart disease in women. On the other hand, regular physical activity and exercise can help protect against the first cardiac episode, aid in the recovery of patients following coronary surgery, and lower the risk of recurrent cardiac events.
Low estrogen levels, particularly after menopause, can increase the risk of developing heart disease in smaller blood vessels. When women reach menopause, they are also more likely to become obese. They also tend to gain belly fat, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
- Complications of pregnancy
Diabetes or high blood pressure in a pregnant woman can increase her long-term risk of these conditions. Women also tend to develop heart disease due to these conditions.
- Family History
Genetic factors also play a role. For example, a family history of recurring heart disease appears to be a more significant risk factor in women than men.
- Inflammatory disorders
Inflammatory conditions like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and others may increase the risk of heart disease in both men and women.
Every woman, irrespective of age, should be concerned about heart disease. Women under age 65, particularly those with a family history of heart disease, should also pay close attention to heart disease risk factors. Women who have a heart attack are far more likely than men to be depressed at the time.
Heart Attacks in Women
A heart attack mainly occurs when the artery that supplies blood to the heart gets blocked. If your heart doesn't get enough blood, it can damage and kill the affected heart tissue, putting you at the risk of heart failure and other potentially fatal complications.
Women may not pay as close attention to a heart attack because of their symptoms, but they are more likely than men to experience nontraditional symptoms. Furthermore, their symptoms tend to appear gradually.
Here are some of the most prevalent heart attack symptoms in women:
- Chest pain feels tightness or pressure rather than the more severe chest pain that men frequently experience. However, there may be no chest pain in some cases.
- Extreme or unusual fatigue may appear before other symptoms and may make you feel as if you're coming down with the flu
- Throat and jaw pain, frequently without chest pain
- indigestion or heartburn-like pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen
- One or both arms are experiencing pain, discomfort, or a tingling sensation.
- upper back pain with a burning, tingling, or pressure-like sensation
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- vomiting and nausea
Women, in comparison to men, experience symptoms more frequently while resting or even asleep. Emotional stress can contribute to the onset of heart attack symptoms in women.
How Would a Woman Know If She Has A Heart Condition?
Would you know if something was wrong with your heart? Unfortunately, not all heart problems have apparent symptoms. As in movies, there isn't always a startling chest clutch followed by a fall to the floor. Many women believe that the symptoms of a heart attack are apparent, but they can be subtle and sometimes confusing.
Here are some of the common issues to keep an eye out for:
- Chest Discomfort
The most apparent tell-sign of a heart problem is chest pain. You may experience pain, tightness, or pressure in your chest if you have a blocked artery or a heart attack. The sensation usually lasts more than a few minutes. It could happen while you're sleeping or doing something physical. If it's only a temporary pain or a spot that hurts more when you touch or push on it, it's most likely not your heart. However, you should still see a doctor about it.
Also, remember that you can have heart problems or even a heart attack without experiencing any chest pain. That is especially common among women.
- Nausea, Upset Stomach, Heartburn, Or Stomach Pain
Some people experience heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, and indigestion during a heart attack. They could even vomit. Of course, you can have stomach pain for various reasons unrelated to your heart. After all, it could just be something you ate. However, you should know that it can also occur during a heart attack.
If you're feeling this way and at risk for heart problems, see a doctor immediately, especially if you have any other symptoms on this list.
- Pain Radiating to the Arm
Another classic heart attack symptom is pain radiating down the left side of the body. It almost always starts at the chest and works its way outward. However, I have had patients with primarily arm pain who had heart attacks.
- Dizziness or Lightheaded Feeling
Many things can cause you to lose your balance or feel faint for a brief moment. But, if you feel unsteady suddenly and have chest discomfort or shortness of breath, contact a doctor immediately. It could mean your blood pressure drops because your heart cannot pump blood.
- Throat or Jaw Discomfort
Throat or jaw pain by itself is unlikely to be related to the heart. It's more likely caused by a muscular, cold, or sinus problem. However, if you experience pain or pressure in the center of your chest that spreads into your throat or jaw, this could indicate a heart attack, and you should seek medical attention immediately.
- You Have Swollen Legs, Feet, And Ankles
Blood backs up in the veins when the heart isn't pumping correctly and causes bloating. Heart failure can also make it difficult for the kidneys to remove excess water and sodium from the body, resulting in bloating.
Bloating and the discomfort it causes occasionally don't always call for medical care. A self-evaluation of habits and modifications in eating patterns and the right health products can help with the problem. However, if there is a rise in frequency, you should visit a doctor.
- Unusual Heartbeat
It's not unusual for your heart to race when you're nervous or excited or skip or add a beat now and then. However, consult your doctor if your heart appears to be beating out of time often.
Most of the time, it's caused by something simple to fix, such as too much caffeine or not enough sleep. However, it may occasionally indicate a condition known as atrial fibrillation, which requires treatment. So have your doctor look into it.
How to Check for the Possibilities of Heart Disease?
A variety of tests are used to diagnose heart disease. Your doctor will begin by gathering your personal and family medical history, documenting current and past symptoms, and performing laboratory tests and an electrocardiogram. Your doctor may require additional tests based on the results of the assessment and tests.
Non-invasive tests are those in which no instruments are inserted into the body. Other tests are more invasive, requiring the insertion of instruments into the body.
Blood tests are used in laboratories to assess your risk of heart disease and other body systems that can affect your cardiovascular health. Medical practitioners Blood is drawn from a vein in your arm during this procedure. Some tests require a 12-hour fast, but most have no dietary restrictions. A lipid profile, lipoprotein, C-reactive protein (CRP), and homocysteine are all blood tests for heart disease.
Complete blood count (CBC), sodium and potassium levels, blood urea nitrogen and creatinine, fasting glucose, ALT and AST, and TSH test to measure thyroid function are examples of blood tests for other body systems.
Medical practitioners use non-invasive and laboratory blood tests to rule out the possibility of heart disease. Some of these are as follows:
The electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a quick, painless test that measures the electrical activity of your heart. A precisely timed electrical signal causes each heartbeat. Arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, can be expected, but they can also indicate coronary artery disease or changes in your heart muscle.
- Carotid Artery Ultrasound
Carotid ultrasound is another painless imaging procedure. It examines how blood flows through your carotid arteries using sound waves. The data identify blockages or narrowing that may increase your risk of having a stroke.
- Head-to-toe Vascular Ultrasound
Body vascular ultrasound is a painless imaging technique that uses sound waves to produce images of the inside of your body. This test can assist your doctor in evaluating your entire circulatory system, detecting blood clots, and identifying artery and vein blockages.
- Stress Examination
A stress test is a non-invasive routine examination that assesses the health and function of your heart. The test demonstrates how your heart functions during exercise. It can detect blood flow issues, assess the severity of coronary artery disease, and detect heart arrhythmia.
- Tilt Table Experiment
A tilt table test measures how your blood pressure and heart rate react to changes in physical positioning. Medical experts can use it to assess symptoms such as an irregular heartbeat, syncope, and dizziness when rising from a sitting position. In a controlled setting, the test simulates the effect of sitting on standing.
How Can Women Protect Herself from Heart Disease?
Women can take action and reduce their risk of heart disease. Many risk factors can be avoided or managed with treatment. The top holistic approaches women (and everyone) can work to protect from heart disease include:
- Get Active
One of the holistic ways to improve your heart health is to exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week at a moderate-to-vigorous intensity. Other risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high levels of "bad" cholesterol, and obesity.
- Make Nutritious Food Choices
Consume a diet rich in colorful fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Track your food choices to notice the number of calories you take in and out. When making healthy food choices, consider what you can add to your diet rather than what you must eliminate.
- Understand Your Family's Medical History
Knowing your family's medical history can go a long way in helping you take preventative measures and avoid heart disease before it becomes a problem. Inquire about the health of family members, and discuss your risks with your healthcare provider.
- Get Plenty of Rest
Adults who sleep less than 7 hours every night are more likely to have health issues, such as high blood pressure, a significant risk factor for heart disease and heart attack.
- Maintain A Healthy Level of Cholesterol
Your dietary choices can impact your cholesterol and triglycerides, which are waxy substances in your bloodstream that can clog arteries and increase your heart disease risks. So adults aged 20 and up should have their cholesterol levels checked as regularly as possible.
- Manage Insulin Levels
High blood glucose levels can harm blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart. Adding a dietary supplement to your meals is an excellent way to keep insulin levels in check. Renew is an all-natural botanical formula designed to regulate metabolism, provide balance to keep insulin stable, and slow down fat and carbohydrate digestion, resulting in a feeling of satiety. Furthermore, it helps reduce stress and cravings for unnecessary eating, as well as glucose levels and cravings.
- Either Quit Smoking or Never Start
Tobacco use is a crucial risk factor for heart disease. The good news is that your risk of heart disease drops dramatically after a year of not smoking. So take steps to break the habit for good.
- Monitor Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can result in heart attacks or strokes. So for optimum heart health, check your blood pressure frequently. The good news is that your doctor may do the non-invasive screenings required to help guarantee a healthy heart as part of a standard physical examination.
Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in both men and women, but they are also the most preventable and reversible. So you need to act now before it's too late. The key is to be aware of your risk factors and to live a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition, exercise, good supplement additions like the Renew wellness botanicals, and effective stress-management techniques.
Preventing heart diseases should ideally begin in early childhood when habits are formed. Adults in their twenties and thirties, on the other hand, can make a significant difference in their health by working to reduce their risk and paying attention to their heart health. And keep in mind that change does not happen overnight. Always consult with holistic or healthcare providers immediately if you notice anything unusual.