Heart disease is a popular health problem in people nowadays. It is also one of the most common causes of death these days. This is major because of the modern and hectic lifestyle of people these days.
This disease affects women more than it affects men; the heart is one of the essential organs in the human body. It is with the help of the heart that the blood is being pumped to different parts of the body, which acts as a fuel to other body parts to function normally.
Heart disease can be caused due to several reasons. Improper diet, toxic lifestyle choices, unhealthy food eating habits, lack of physical movement, and the like are some of the common culprits of heart-related ailments. While all of these are human-made causes, the only natural cause of heart ailments in men & women is aging.
This disease might not be directly connected to the heart itself, but might be related to organs that are connected to the heart, which helps in transmitting the blood to different parts of the body. Heart disease has different types that you should be aware of, and they affect a human body in many ways:
- Coronary heart disease: A disease that affects the heart’s major blood vessels
- High blood pressure: The blood flows in a very high force against the artery walls
- Cardiac arrest: The heart stops to function which could lead to breathlessness and unconsciousness
- Heart failure: The heart doesn’t pump enough blood as it normally should
- Arrhythmia: The heart doesn’t beat properly
- Peripheral artery disease: The circulation of blood is improper
- Stroke: the improper blood circulation will affect the brain
- Congenital heart disease: the disease is inherent in the person even before their birth
From these, it is quite evident that contrary to popular belief, cardiac arrest is not the only type of heart disease in this world!
Heart Disease Symptoms
Heart disease is a common cause of death in men, but that does not mean it doesn’t affect women. The fatalities are more in men than in women, so this fact is overlooked when considering the dangers of this disease in women.
Heart disease comes only second to cancer in the cause of death toll in women. It solely is the primary cause of death for a majority of American women, the death toll in a percentage being 20%.
This disease mainly affects white women in the United States of America than American-Indian, American-African, or Hispanic women. This might majorly be attributed to the eating patterns, the diet of the women, and the lifestyle choices of the women.
One in sixteen women, who are of 20 years or older, is prone to coronary heart disease. If you are one of them, how do you be alert to this dangerous disease?
The symptoms of heart disease are more visible in men than in women. This makes it more challenging to ascertain heart disease in women. A proper full health check-up is always advisable to any person who is of age 20 or more to keep their health in check.
It would be difficult to cure a disease when it is only ascertained at a very later stage than at the beginning stage of the disease. When the disease is diagnosed at the initial stages, steps can be taken to cure the disease thoroughly or to stop the disease from fully aggravating and causing permanent damage to the human body.
Here are some of the symptoms that you need to be aware of and lead a healthy life:
One of the significant and commonly known symptoms of heart disease is excruciating chest pain. This chest pain, in medical terms, is called Angina; this is a symptom where the person feels dull & heavy and has unbearable pain in their chest, putting her in a very uncomfortable situation. In some cases, however, a woman can have a heart attack without going through any pain at all.
This is a scenario where there is a minor heart attack, and the person only feels mild pain and discomfort along with tightness around the heart.
This scenario is common when women are already diagnosed with existing heart disease. It describes the symptoms like pressure and tightness around the chest area. These dormant symptoms make it even more complicated to diagnose heart disease in women.
Sometimes, the women may also brush it off as a minute discomfort and might even consider not visiting or consulting a doctor. This results in fatal accidents.
The symptoms of heart disease in women are very different from that of men. When men undergo this disease, it is easily diagnosed as the symptoms are pretty explicit. They are treated more properly and are given adequate care.
The symptoms in women are more subtle and mild, making it almost impossible to diagnose the problem without a lot of probing and checking the women thoroughly.
Even though the symptoms are not explicit, it is not an impossible task to diagnose serious heart problems. Any doctor who is an expert in the study of heart should be able to diagnose heart disease in women within one visit.
What Else Should Be Alert?
Apart from chest pain, the other symptoms of heart disease in women are a pain in the neck, jaw, or throat. The pain in the neck, jaw, or throat can mean a thousand different things; therefore, don’t get alarmed thinking that these are symptoms of heart disease.
These symptoms can be very vague as the neck, throat, and jaw are not at all close or connected to the heart directly. So, the chances of people having these symptoms and considering them as heart disease or problems are highly unlikely.
Some of the other symptoms that can also contribute to heart disease in women are as follows:
- Indigestion is a symptom for a probable heart disease
- Unusual fatigue is a common symptom for any kind of heart disease as the person won’t have the energy to do the day-to-day activities also
- Pain shooting up in one or both the arms
- Nausea or vomiting
- Continuous sweating
- Lightheadedness and dizziness
These symptoms mostly occur in women when they are at rest or when they are asleep. Heart disease in women can also be caused due to too much emotional stress.
Risk Factors That Lead To Heart Disease In Women
The risk factors that lead to heart disease in women are a lot when compared to men. Some of them are discussed below. We can avoid or prevent this disease by giving attention to these risk factors:
The first and foremost risk factor that can cause heart disease in women is diabetes. An interesting point to note is that diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease in women only and not in men.
This is quite a challenging situation because women who have diabetes don’t exhibit specific symptoms. This is because diabetes can change the way women feel heart disease, and they might not even feel a minor heart attack.
Hence, it would be right to say that it is tougher to diagnose heart disease in diabetic women than in normal women.
Stress And Depression
Mental stress and depression are other common risk factors for heart disease in women. This risk factor is the most difficult to deal with, as the emotional stress and depression make it hard for the women to have a healthy and peaceful lifestyle because of the ever-changing mood and emotional imbalance.
A family history of heart disease is also a high-risk factor for both men and women when it comes to experiencing heart-related ailments. So, it is always advisable to know the diseases that are in the family to be extra careful and preventive.
Inflammatory diseases are also common risk factors of heart disease. These are common in both men and women. Inflammatory diseases are diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
People having these inflammatory diseases should be very cautious and should have their health checked now and then to prevent heart disease.
Complications in pregnancy
Pregnancy complications are one of the significant risk factors for heart disease in women. High blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy can have a long-time effect on the women as they may feel the repercussions of the complications later on.
During menopause, women lose their immunity, which will give way to a lot of illnesses because of a weak immune system. Thus menopause will result in small blood cells being damaged, thereby causing heart problems.
Sedentary Lifestyles And Other Vices
Smoking and inactivity are major risk factors that lead to heart disease. Smoking is a dangerous and toxic habit that can also lead to other terminal illnesses and not just heart problems. According to some studies, it is said that women are more inactive than men. So, by doing a lot of physical work and leading a healthy lifestyle, women can avoid heat-related issues.
Heart Disease Treatment
The treatments for heart disease are not very different for men and women, even though the symptoms and risk factors are different from each other in many ways. Some of the treatments that are carried out for patients are as follows.
Statin therapy is a therapy that is usually prescribed for men than women. This is because this can cause future heart attacks in women. Other treatments are angioplasty and stenting; these are treatments for heart attacks and are very common in urban and rural areas today, as the success rate of these treatments is quite high.
Other treatments may include medication and cardiac rehabilitation. Cardiac rehabilitation is a very effective treatment as it can improve a person’s health phenomenally.
It is another treatment that is prescribed more to men than women. This is an excellent way of recovery from any kind of heart disease. Medications are usually the most commonly prescribed treatment for minor heart disease.
How To Prevent Heart Disease
One of the best and effective ways to avoid any kind of disease is to maintain a proper and healthy lifestyle. Nowadays, a healthy lifestyle is treated more like a luxury than a necessity. Here are some simple but useful tips that women can follow to keep heart disease at bay.
Quitting smoking is one of the first tips that women should follow, as it not only helps women to stay away from heart ailments but also reduces their risk to other deadly diseases.
Exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and maintaining a proper diet are significant ways to avoid heart disease. Exercising regularly makes the body fit. An hour of walking or running every day is an excellent physical exercise to improve blood circulation and improve the functioning of the heart. Also, including a lot of green, leafy vegetables & fruits in one’s daily diet will keep one’s heart to be healthy and strong.
Managing stress levels is another way to avoid any kind of heart disease, as emotional stress is one of the significant causes of heart disease in women. Including mental conditioning exercises such as yoga and meditation in their daily lifestyle can help women to keep stress levels low and heart disease at bay.
One of the best ways to reduce heart ailments is to limit one’s alcohol intake, as it is not suitable for health. Too much alcohol can cause blood pressure levels to shoot up, thereby making women more prone to heart disease than ever.
Following a healthy & active lifestyle and getting a regular health check-up done are two of the best ways to reduce one’s risk of heart disease. It is crucial to monitor your cholesterol levels, blood pressure levels, and sugar levels regularly as these are known as the cardiac risk parameters. Any imbalance in these levels should ring an alarm bell in your mind.