Women and Their Hearts: What You Need To Know
Heart attacks are one of the more frightening medical issues which anyone can face. Men tend to grow up with it as a looming concern for their future. But for women, the fear tends to focus more on the men in their lives. Women usually see heart attacks as a risk for their husbands than for themselves.
It’s true that around 70% to 89% of sudden cardiac events occur in men. But in reality, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women, according to the American Heart Association. More than half a million American women a year die from cardiac events, such as stroke, hypertension, and heart disease. This shows the importance of heart health for women. Basically, it’s long past the point where women should allow themselves a bit of extra self-care to take care of their own heart health. There’s usually quite a bit that women can do to help weigh the odds in their own favor. With enough preparation, most women can ensure that the odds of a heart attack are fairly low.
The first step involves a general health checkup. Some professional medical evaluation should go along with any major change in lifestyle. There are a few areas which you should give some special attention. One of the easier warning signs is excessive sweating. If this is something that you deal with often, then it could qualify as hyperhidrosis. This doesn’t necessarily indicate issues with your heart, but it’s among the many warning signs, both in terms of risk for heart attacks and for a heart attack actually in progress.
Nevertheless, even if it’s unrelated, it is an important issue to look into. In fact, that’s one of the better things about taking care of your heart. Most of the steps you’ll take for heart health will help other aspects of your health as well.
The weighty issue of weight
With that in mind, you should also consider another warning sign for heart issues. It’s not something anyone likes to dwell on. But excessive weight is the best sign of a heart attack in someone’s future.
It’s easy to see why that would be the case. The human heart is only capable of so much. And fatty tissue doesn’t behave in the same way as many other types of mass. It essentially just takes from the heart but doesn’t contribute anything back. The human heart essentially ends up acting as life support for that additional tissues.
Smoking is more well known as a factor in heart health. Just because it’s known doesn’t show that everyone is actually taking heed of it. Men and women alike should also consider using medicine prescribed by their doctor. There is also the use of alternative drugs, to boost their overall health. Adding healthy habits while removing unhealthy ones can offer quite a bit of heart protection.
What to look out for
The warning signs for a heart attack are generally the same for men and women. Chest pain is one of the more noticeable and common. However, it manifests differently in women than men. Men typically report a crushing pain. Like an elephant sitting on their chest. Women typically experience it more as an intense discomfort. And unlike men, it isn’t always localized on the left side of the chest. Instead, it can be felt anywhere in that region.
In fact, women tend to experience generalized pain in various different areas above their waist during a heart attack. It’s most common as localized discomfort in the chest. But it can happen anywhere from the stomach to the jaw. This might sound rather vague, and sadly that’s because it is. It’s often much harder to notice a heart attack in women than in men. This is one reason why heart issues are often more lethal in women.
One important point to look out for is secondary symptoms. If there’s pain, then you should look for other signs of a heart attack. For example, sudden pain combined with sudden sweating.
The most important thing you can do if you think you’re having a heart attack is to alert someone nearby. You might not be conscious long enough to call for medical assistance, so if someone can take on that responsibility then it’ll be a huge help.
Next, decide in advance to not let concern over being wrong delay preventative action. You might be wrong about the heart attack, but if you are, then that’s all it is; one mistake with no negative consequences. If you bet that you’re not having a heart attack when you actually are though? The end results are far riskier. That extra caution combined with working on your health can provide vastly improved chances of a long and happy life.