The Difference Between Women and Men in Matters of Heart Disease

Attention all women. The American Heart Association (AHA) just released a new statement focused entirely on women and heart disease. Why? To relay important information that can literally save lives. And what better time than during American Heart Month (February) to share a little refresher course on heart disease symptoms and prevention.

At the core of the AHA statement is the already-known fact that women and men are different when it comes to heart disease. Women can experience heart disease symptoms that are unlike men’s; women are more likely to delay getting medical attention (the AHA says on average, a woman waits more than two days after first experiencing symptoms!); and the underlying cause of women’s heart disease is not accurately diagnosed and treated as often as men’s. The bottom line is women and their doctors need to recognize symptoms of heart disease and respond to them quickly and appropriately.

Chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack for both women and men. Women, however, often experience symptoms such as nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, and back, neck, or jaw pain. Palpitations, indigestion, and a sense of dread are symptoms, as well. Always call 911 if you think you may be having a heart attack. If it is a heart attack, getting to the hospital and being evaluated and treated quickly is the key to minimizing permanent heart damage.

Do all you can do to keep your heart healthy by reducing your risk factors and living a healthy lifestyle. Keep your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure at the levels recommended by your doctor; don’t smoke or be around second-hand smoke; eat a healthy, well-balanced diet; get the rest you need; exercise every day; and be sure to get enough sleep. If you have heart disease or other conditions that increase your risk of developing heart disease, work with your doctor to develop the right treatment plan.

The AHA Scientific Statement, titled, “Acute Myocardial Infarction in Women,” was published in the January 26, 2016 edition of Circulation.

Let Village at Proprietors Green partner with you and your family to support your heart-healthy aims as you seek to live an even healthier lifestyle in the new year.