Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women. But you may be surprised to learn that heart disease differs between men and women: Women tend to have different risk factors, signs, and symptoms than men do, which means they may not realize they are at risk for heart disease until it has already progressed.
This article explains how women’s hearts differ from men’s and why this matters when understanding your health status or caring for a loved one who has or is developing heart disease.
Women’s Risk Factors For Heart Disease
A woman’s risk of heart disease is about the same as a man’s until she reaches menopause. After that, her risk increases dramatically.
That’s because women have more fat around their hearts and less muscle than men — two factors that make them more vulnerable to heart disease.
“This isn’t surprising,” says Alyson Hockett, MD, an internal medicine specialist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. “We know that women are different than men. And when it comes to cardiovascular health, women need to be aware of the differences.”
Risk Factors Heart Disease in Female
Smoking damages the blood vessels and makes them hard and narrow. It also increases the risk of lung cancer, other cancers, and chronic pulmonary diseases such as emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma. Smoking also increases your risk of stroke, leading to a loss of independence in older age.
Overeating fat, incredibly saturated fat, found in foods like meat, pies, and pastries, may lead to high cholesterol levels, which raises your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Being overweight or obese is also linked with a higher risk of CHD.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a significant cause of heart disease. High blood pressure means that your heart has to pump harder than usual to get enough oxygen-rich blood around your body, which can strain the walls of your arteries (blood vessels).
This causes damage over time, increasing your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a heart attack or stroke. You can lower your blood pressure by losing weight if you are overweight or obese, eating less salt, exercising regularly, quitting smoking;
Additionally, pregnancy can cause increased blood pressure that could last for years or a lifetime. For this reason, women who plan on becoming pregnant should have their blood pressure checked regularly before and during pregnancy.
Early Signs Of Heart Disease in Women
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States. Although men are more likely than women to die from heart disease, more women die yearly than men. Heart disease is responsible for one out of every four deaths among women. A woman’s risk of heart disease increases as she gets older, but most deaths occur before age 65.
Women with heart disease may have different signs and symptoms than men. For example, they’re more likely to experience shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain than men. Heart attacks are also more common among women after the age of 60. Some of the early signs are:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Shortness of breath with activity or at rest
- Fatigue and weakness
- Palpitations (feeling your heartbeat)
- Anxiety, depression, or irritability
It’s essential to know that these signs can overlap with other conditions unrelated to heart diseases, such as pneumonia or acid reflux. If you experience any of these symptoms regularly or notice them suddenly worse, consult your doctor immediately so they can determine whether it’s something serious like heart disease or something less severe like indigestion or allergies that need treatment.
Common Symptoms Of Heart Disease in Female
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women because its signs and symptoms can differ somewhat from men’s and their risk factors; women need to be aware of the unique warning signs.
A woman’s heart attack symptoms can differ from those experienced by men. They may be so subtle that they’re not even noticed until a few hours after the attack has begun. This delay means that timely treatment could be delayed or missed altogether if proper precautions are not taken beforehand.
In addition to this delay in symptom onset, women tend to have different types of heart attacks than men do; while there may be chest pain involved in both cases (which should always be checked out by a medical professional), other symptoms might include:
- Chest pain or pressure
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or fainting
Heart Disease Kills Many Everywhere Due to Lack Of Awareness
Study shows that heart disease kills more women in the United States than all forms of cancer combined and is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.
Heart disease is a combination of symptoms, conditions, or diseases that affect your heart. When it’s not properly treated or managed, you could experience chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, dizziness or fatigue while exercising, high blood pressure (hypertension), abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), an enlarged heart muscle (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), atherosclerosis—or any combination thereof.
Women are at Risk Of Heart Attack More than Men
Women tend to have heart attacks later in life than men. Most women who die from a heart attack had their first one after age 60.
The disease is also less likely to kill them if they survive it: only 6% of women who have had a heart attack will die within 30 days, compared with 9% of men who have had one. This may be because many women don’t know they’re at risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), so they don’t take steps to protect themselves and get medical treatment when needed.
Women must be aware of the unique warning signs of heart disease and take action if they have chest pain, shortness of breath, or other symptoms. Early detection is crucial because the longer it takes to get diagnosed with heart disease, the more likely you will experience serious health problems.