Symptoms of heart problems in women can lead to heart attack if not addressed properly. Women, especially those who try to keep work-life balance need to pay a special attention to those symptoms if they exist.
The heart is one of the most vital organs in the human body, but unfortunately, not much research has been done on the heart of a woman. For years, people studying to become doctors have only learned about the symptoms of heart problems in men, and that is how most of society learned how to identify heart problems.
But more recently, we have learned that there are actually different symptoms present in women than in men, and our lack of knowledge about it has cause problems for women.
Heart disease has become the most common cause of death worldwide for both men and women, and all women can face the threat of it.
It is important for all women to know the symptoms of heart problems so that they can identify them in a moment of crisis.
Symptoms of Heart Attack in Women
Heart attacks are something that all people fear, but may not know much about. Heart attacks occur when there is a severe obstruction or complete cut off of the blood flow which brings oxygen to the heart muscle.
This occurs when the arteries supplying blood to the heart experience some sort of blockage due to the building up of fat, cholesterol, plaque, or other substances.
The most common complications related to a heart attack are heart failure and ventricular fibrillation- when the heart muscle is injured. Most people who die from heart attacks have experienced severe ventricular fibrillation before they were able to get to the emergency room.
But, if a heart attack patient gets to the emergency room on time, their chance of survival is over 90 percent. Unfortunately, though, more women who experience heart attacks die from them than men do.
Blood flow needs to be restored to the heart muscle within the span of 20 to 40 minutes to prevent death of the heart muscle that will be irreversible. It is important to call 911 right away if you think that you or someone around you is experiencing a heart attack.
The most common symptom of a heart attack in all people is pain, discomfort, or pressure in the chest. Some people describe this pain as being tight, because it might signify the blockage of smaller arteries supplying blood to the heart and to the main arteries, which is more common in women.
There are women, however, who do not experience chest pain prior to a heart attack. Women actually tend to be much more likely than men to have a heart attack without experiencing any chest pain.
Some of the most common symptoms of a heart attack in women are: sweating, nausea or vomiting, extreme and unusual fatigue, feeling lightheaded or dizzy, pain in one or both of the arms, shortness of breath, or discomfort in the neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back, or abdomen.
These symptoms tend to occur more often in women when they are at rest or asleep. Heart attacks most commonly take place in the morning hours because there are higher levels of adrenaline released in the morning.
There are even some people, however, who do not experience symptoms at all before they have a heart attack. There are women who experience these symptoms, but believe that they are simply experiencing acid reflux or the flu.
Some of the most causes of heart attacks are:
- atherosclerosis (the buildup of plaque in the arteries),
- angina pectoris (having chest pain from coronary heart disease),
- high blood cholesterol,
- high blood pressure,
- family history,
- and extreme mental stress.
Symptoms of Heart Disease in Women
There are several conditions which affect the heart which can be described as heart disease. Some of these include diseases of the blood vessels, problems with the rhythm of the heart, birth defects relating to the heart, and other problems.
It can also be used to describe cardiovascular disease, which means conditions that cause narrowed or blocked blood vessels.
There are different symptoms that can affect you depending on which type of heart disease you are affected with. Women are more likely than men to experience symptoms besides discomfort in the chest, which include shortness of breath, feeling extremely fatigued, pain, weakness, or numbness in the arms or legs, nausea, or pain in other parts of the body.
If you think that you have heart disease, see a doctor especially if you feel faint, chest pain, or shortness of breath. It is easier to get treatment for, just as most diseases, if you identify it earlier.
The most common causes of heart disease in women and men include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Some other causes can include diabetes, stress and depression (which are more likely to affect the hearts of women than men), smoking, being inactive, menopause, broken heart syndrome (which occurs more often in women), or complications during pregnancy.
How to Prevent Heart Problems
Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States and across the world. People usually believe that it is something only older women should worry about, but this is not the case. Women of any age should be serious about heart disease, especially if they have a family history of it.
Heart disease, though, can mostly be prevented through choices people make in their lifestyles. It is important to stop smoking or to never smoke altogether. This has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and many other illnesses as well.
People should exercise regularly. It is recommended that people exercise for approximately 30 minutes for 5 days every week. This and eating a healthy diet can help women maintain a weight that is healthy, which is also helpful in preventing heart disease.
Some women take aspirin so that they can prevent heart disease and heart attacks. It is not recommended for women under the age of 65, unless a doctor recommends it. However, do not take aspirin on your own, without consulting a doctor.
Having good hygiene can also prevent heart disease. If you regularly wash your hands, brush your teeth, shower, etc., then it can help to prevent infections which will put your body at a higher risk of heart infections or heart disease.
Know what your blood pressure is. There are some people who have high blood pressure who thus have no symptoms of heart disease or heart attack, so it is especially important that you check your blood pressure, and receive the proper treatment if necessary if it is too high or too low.
Also, get checked for diabetes, high cholesterol, and high triglyceride levels. If you need treatment, your doctor will be able to help you. Generally, having a healthy diet and exercising frequently can help prevent these problems or can help decrease these problems.
Stress can also be a huge contributing factor in heart disease or heart attacks. While saying ‘don’t stress out’ will never change anything, it is important to take control of your mental health because if can affect you physically.
Try to seek counseling if you feel that you need it. Avoid people or situations that make you feel especially stressed, if at all possible. Try to avoid being inactive, since doing nothing often causes people to think too much and make themselves sick. It is important to control the levels of stress in your life as much as possible.
Treating Heart Disease
Treating heart disease ultimately depends on what kind of heart disease you have and the amount of damage that has been done. If you have a heart infection, your doctor will likely prescribe you with antibiotics.
You may have to do some lifestyle changes, which include getting approximately 30 minutes of exercise daily, stopping smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, and eating a diet that consists of low-fat and low-sodium foods.
You may have to take medicine which will control your heart disease, or you may have to go through different procedures and surgeries. This depends on which type of heart disease you have and how much damage has been caused to your heart.
It is important to get early treatment for heart attack. Call 911 immediately if you feel that you are about to have a heart attack or that someone else around you is. Medical personnel will give you aspirin which is used to prevent more blood clotting.
Other treatments include nitroglycerin to help blood flow, oxygen therapy, and treatment for chest pain. When a heart attack has been formally diagnosed, doctors will give clot-busting medicines which will dissolve blood clots, and percutaneous coronary intervention, which will be used to open coronary arteries which have been blocked or narrowed.
Overall, there are many changes you can make in your lifestyle which can reduce your chances of heart disease. If you have a family history of heart problems, then you especially should take heed. Remember, taking care of your health starts when you’re young- not when you’re over 65.
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