Prevalence of Heart Disease in Women
When we hear the term “heart disease,” we often think of it as a man’s disease, but the fact is that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. One in four women die of heart disease, whereas one in thirty die with breast cancer.
A Serious Matter
Once a woman has a heart attack, 20 percent die within a year and 50 percent die within six years; therefore, this is not to be taken lightly. Furthermore, it is a totally preventable problem. First we have to recognize the risk factors which exponentially add to the development and progression of the disease. These factors include heredity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking and - to a lesser degree - obesity and lack of exercise. Only the genetic ones are non-modifiable; therefore, an effort to control risk factors is of capital importance through correct lifestyle adjustments like diet, exercise, control of blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes (with medications if needed). It is extremely important to discuss this with your doctor.
A heart attack is a sign of advanced arterial disease, which commonly already exists in other arterial systems, but it is never too late to start the risk control management. More importantly, be able to recognize symptoms which are somewhat different than in men. The typical crushing chest pain is not as common, but it could be present on both sides of the chest, shoulders, arms (usually left), neck and the jaw and are typically accompanied with a sensation of severe weakness, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, profuse sweating and anxiety. These symptoms rarely happen all at once, but the presence of any of them requires immediate attention as it becomes a life and death situation. If these symptoms arise, call 9-1-1 to be taken to a hospital and be treated by a cardiologist. There is a chance that the artery will be opened and treated with a clot dissolving medicine or with a balloon and stent procedure, which could be life- saving.
Symptoms of chest discomfort provoked by exercise should prompt one to seek medical attention as it could be a life threatening situation.
Holy Cross Medical Group, Gallagher Adult Practice | 1900 E. Commercial Blvd., #101, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308 | 954-351-5838 | HolyCrossHeart.com