1 in every 4 women dies from heart disease each year. It is important to catch the early signs of heart disease, however these signs are different in men and women. Currently, cardiovascular disease (CVD) affects 90% of adults and is the leading cause of death in women.
The most commonly recognized symptoms are chest pain, pressure or discomfort (angina). Unlike the signs we often see in movies – a man clutching his chest- CVD in women tends to be less obvious, hence it’s commonly called the ‘silent killer’. This pain arises when the heart is getting too little or no blood.
What Is CVD?
CVD also known a cardiovascular disease affects the heart and its blood vessels. The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD) and it is the leading cause of heart attacks. Among women, African Americans have higher instances of heart disease. It affects twice as many black women than white women. Some factors contributing this difference include higher rates of obesity or overweight, higher levels of elevated cholesterol and blood pressure.
Symptoms of Heart Disease
• No symptoms at all
• Chest pain or discomfort
• Unusual upper body discomfort
• Shortness of breath
• Unusual and unexplained tiredness
• Sudden dizziness or lightheadedness
• Nausea – feeling sick to the stomach
Heart Disease Prevention
1. Limit Alcohol Usage: drink less alcoholic drinks
2. Stay Active: regular exercise can reduce chances of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure
3. Follow your doctor’s instructions: take your medications as directed; only stop when your doctor instructs you
4. Regulate your blood pressure: get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked regularly, if you have diabetes always check your blood sugar level as well
5. Maintain a healthy weight: being overweight and obese raises, your risk of heart disease
6. Quit Smoking
7. Healthy food choices: choose foods that are low in sodium, limit foods that have trans fats, and read the nutrition facts on your food label to ensure you are making healthy food choices
8. Lower your stress level: lowering your stress levels by finding healthy ways to cope with your stress
Recent research looking at more than 200 subjects found that women are one and a half times more likely to wait longer than men do to seek help. By this time, symptoms become severe and therefore deadly.
The American Heart Association recommends calling 911 immediately if you experience one or more of these heart disease symptoms.