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signs of heart attack in women - what are the early signs of heart attack in women

signs of heart attack in women - what are the early signs of heart attack in women


Women and heart disease: Know the symptoms and risks

Heart disease is a threat to all women. Women can protect themselves by knowing the symptoms and risks specific to them, as well as eating a heart-healthy diet and exercising.

Men are often thought to be at greater risk for heart disease. However, it is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States. Many women don't know what to look for when they have heart disease because some symptoms can differ from those in men.

The good news is that women can reduce their risks of heart disease by learning their unique symptoms.

Symptoms of a heart attack in women

The most common symptoms of a heart attack in women are the same as in men - some type of chest pain, pressure, or discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes or comes and goes. However, chest pain is not always severe or even the most noticeable symptom, particularly in women. Women often describe chest pain as pressure or tightness. And, it's possible to have a heart attack without chest pain.

Heart attack In woman symptoms unrelated to chest pain are more common in women than in men, such as:

  • Discomfort in the neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back, or abdomen
  • shortness of breath
  • or pain in one or both arms
  • and nausea or vomiting
  • Shivering
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Excessive fatigue
  • and indigestion

They may be vague and not as noticeable as the crushing chest pain often associated with heart attacks. It could be because women tend to have blockages not only in their main arteries but also in the smaller ones that supply blood to the heart - a condition referred to as small vessel heart disease or coronary microvascular disease.

It is more common for women to experience symptoms while resting, or even while asleep than it is for men. Early signs of heart attack symptoms in women can be triggered by emotional stress.

Symptoms of a heart attack aren't always recognized by women, so they tend to show up in emergency rooms after their hearts have already been damaged. Because their symptoms often differ from men's, women might be diagnosed with heart disease less frequently than men.

Call for emergency medical help if you have symptoms of a heart attack or think you're having one. Unless you have no other option, don't drive yourself to the emergency room.

Women's risk factors for heart disease

Traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity, affect both men and women. Other factors can also play a role in the development of heart disease in women.

Risk factors for heart disease in women include:

  • Having diabetes. Diabetic women are more likely to develop heart disease than diabetic men. Diabetes can also change how you feel pain, so you're at a greater risk of having a silent heart attack - without symptoms.

  • Stress and depression. Women's hearts are more vulnerable to stress and depression than men's hearts. Depression makes it hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow recommended treatment methods.

  • Cigarettes. Women are more likely than men to suffer from heart disease if they smoke.

  • Being inactive. Being inactive is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Research has shown that women are less active than men.

  • The menopause. Low estrogen levels after menopause increase the risk of developing a disease in smaller blood vessels.

  • Complications during pregnancy. High blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy can increase a woman's long-term risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes. These conditions can also increase her risk of heart disease.

  • Her family has a history of heart disease. This seems to be a greater risk factor for women than for men.

  • Chronic inflammatory diseases. In both men and women, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and others can increase the risk of heart disease.

Do only older women need to worry about heart disease?

Not at all. Women of all ages should pay attention to heart disease. Women under age 65 - especially those with a family history of heart disease - should also be aware of heart disease risk factors.

How can women reduce their risk of heart disease?

Heart disease can be reduced by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are some heart-healthy strategies:

  • Smoke no more. Do not start smoking. Secondhand smoke can also damage blood vessels, so try to avoid it.

  • Keep active. Everyone should do moderate exercise, such as walking at a brisk pace, on most days of the week.

  • Keep a healthy weight. Consult your doctor to determine your ideal weight. Even losing a few pounds can lower blood pressure and reduce diabetes risk.

  • Maintain a healthy diet. Choose whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and lean meats. Don't consume saturated or trans fats, added sugars, or excessive salt.

  • Reduce stress. Stress can tighten your arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease, especially coronary microvascular disease.

  • Limit your alcohol consumption. Don't drink more than one drink a day. Drinks are approximately 12 ounces (360 milliliters) of beer, 5 ounces (150 milliliters) of wine, or 1.5 ounces (45 milliliters) of distilled spirits, such as vodka or whiskey.

  • Stick to your treatment plan. Aspirin, blood thinners, and blood pressure medication should be taken as prescribed.

  • Take care of other health conditions. Diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure increase the risk of heart disease.

Women should exercise to reduce their risk of heart disease

Health and Human Services recommend at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of the two.

Five days a week, that's 30 minutes. Start slowly and build up if that's too much for you. Even five minutes of exercise a day can be beneficial.

Get about 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day, five days a week, for the best results. Do strength training exercises two or more days a week as well.

You can break up your workout into several 10-minute sessions during the day. This will still benefit your heart.

Performing short bursts of intense activity alternated with periods of lighter activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your blood pressure and keep your heart healthy. Include short bursts of jogging or fast walking in the walks you regularly take.

These tips can also help you add exercise to your daily routine.

  • Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs.
  • You can walk or ride your bike to work or to run errands.
  • You can march in place while watching television.

How do you determine a healthy weight?

A healthy weight depends on the individual, but having a normal body mass index (BMI) is helpful. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. A BMI of 25 or higher increases the risk of heart disease.

A waist measurement (waist circumference) can also indicate whether or not you are overweight. Women who have a waist measurement greater than 35 inches (89 centimeters) are generally considered overweight.

Is heart disease treated differently in women than in men?

Women and men generally receive similar treatment for heart disease. Medication, angioplasty, and stenting, or coronary bypass surgery are some of the options.

Women are less likely than men to be prescribed statin therapy to prevent future heart attacks. The benefits are similar for both groups. Both angioplasty and stenting, commonly used treatments for heart attacks, are effective for men and women. However, women are more likely than men to experience complications after coronary bypass surgery.

Recovery from heart disease can be assisted by cardiac rehabilitation. Women, however, are less likely to be referred to cardiac rehabilitation than men.

Preventing heart disease in women by taking aspirin

Taking a low-dose aspirin every day can help prevent another heart attack if you have already had one. Aspirin, however, can cause bleeding. As a result, women without a history of heart attack shouldn't take daily aspirin.

Aspirin should never be taken alone for the prevention of heart disease. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking aspirin.

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