When most people mentally picture an individual with heart disease, the image that comes to mind is a middle-aged to older man. However, one in four women in the United States die due to heart disease, approximately 300,000 deaths a year. This statistic is more tremendous when it is recognized that almost the same number of women die as men from heart disease, and most women, 64 percent, have experienced no previous symptoms that would indicate they are prone to heart disease. Cardiac monitoring leaders, ReactDx, have compiled a list of symptoms, risk factors, and screening tips to recognize and even prevent coronary heart disease in women. If you believe you may have suffered any of these symptoms in the past, contact your physician. He or she can prescribe a ReactDx mobile cardiac monitor to evaluate your heart as you go about your daily activities.
- Arrhythmia: Arrhythmia is a fluttering feeling in the chest, a similar sensation to butterflies in the stomach except higher and to the left of the breastbone. These palpitations may last only a short time or continue on and off for an extended period of time.
- Heart Attack Symptoms: Symptoms of a heart attack include, but are not limited to, chest pain and/or discomfort, pain in the upper back, indigestion/heartburn, nausea/vomiting, shortness of breath, and/or extreme fatigue. Many women mistakenly believe they have acute heartburn when, in actuality, they are experiencing a heart attack.
- Heart Failure: Heart failure symptoms may include swelling of the lower extremities and/or abdomen, shortness of breath and fatigue. Often attributed to age, these symptoms are frequently overlooked.
- Stroke: A stroke may be recognized with numbness or paralysis on one or both sides of the body, abrupt weakness, sudden and severe headache, shortness of breath, loss of balance or coordination, trouble comprehending speech, difficulty speaking or hearing, and inability to see in one or both eyes. Call 911 immediately if you have any of these signs.
- Coronary Heart Disease: Many women report their symptoms of coronary heart disease as pain or discomfort in the neck, jaw, throat, chest, back, or abdomen. This discomfort may be induced by activity or may occur at rest. Stress may trigger heart disease as well.
Although you cannot control heredity, most of the risk factors associated with heart disease can be handled personally or with the help of a physician. High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are all prime factors that increase the prevalence of heart disease. Other medical conditions and lifestyle choices, such as diabetes, a poor diet, obesity, physical inactivity, and alcohol abuse will exacerbate heart disease instances.
Cardiac heart disease can be reduced or eliminated by limiting alcohol intake, giving up smoking, eating more fresh food and less processed food, diminishing stressors in your life, understanding your blood pressure, and being tested for diabetes. Contact your physician for a consultation, and for more information pertaining to heart health, or cardiac monitoring, please browse the ReactDx blog.