Heart disease is a condition that affects the normal functioning of the heart and or the structures of Heart disease includes conditions that affect your blood vessels, such as coronary heart disease; abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias); heart defects that you're born with; and issues with your heart valves and muscles. A heart attack is caused from narrowing or blockage of a blood vessel (cardiovascular disease) and heart disease is used synonymously with cardiovascular disease. As we recognize American Heart Month, remember to get your heart checked-out by your healthcare provider and remember the facts about heart disease.
Heart Disease and Women
- Heart Disease is the #1 killer of women.
- Heart Disease kills approximately 1 woman every minute.
- Approximately 43 million American women suffer from Heart Disease.
- The signs and symptoms of Heart Disease differ among women and men.
- Heart Disease is often misdiagnosed in women.
- Hispanic women are more likely to develop Heart Disease 10 years earlier than Caucasian women.
- Heart Disease is the leading cause of death among African American women.
Signs and Symptoms
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back is mostly noted by women than men. This may confuse many women because they expect the pain to be located in the chest and left arm.
- Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint.
- Chest pain or discomfort. In women, the pain may be located in any area of the chest and not directly on the left side.
- Many women complain of stomach pain and they mistake this pain as Reflux.
- Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder, dominantly occurs on the down the left arm.
- Shortness of breath.
- Some women complain of having a nervous cold sweat that resembles a stress-related sweat.
- Healthy diet: consume healthy fats, decrease saturated fats, drink alcohol in moderation, and eat well balanced foods from each food group.
- Exercise routinely and regularly.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Refrain from smoking.
- Get regular cardiovascular screenings from your doctor yearly.
- Get help immediate if you suspect that you are having a heart attack.
American Heart Association. About heart disease in women. Retrieved from https://www.goredforwomen.org/home/about-heart-disease-in-women/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Heart disease. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/about.htm
Rodriguez, F., & Foody, J. M. (2013). Is cardiovascular disease in young women overlooked? Women's Health, 9(3), 213-5. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/whe.13.18
Monique C. Huntley, MSN, FNP-BC, is a doctoral student in Health Studies at Texas Woman's University.
Graphics courtesy of the author.
On Campus Events
Go Red for Women: Heart Health Lunch and Learn
Go Red for Women: Wear Red (campus photo)
Interested in becoming a health educator? Check out our website and contact us to discuss which program might be the best for you.
You might also be interested in:
Go Red Interviews with MaryJo Frederick and Dr. Roger Shipley
Creating a Heart-Healthy Diet
If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to share!