Heart Diseases Common In Women

Important Heart Disease Facts


Cardiology is a branch of medicine that deals with heart disorders, diagnosis, and treatment. Doctors reference various heart and blood vessel conditions as “heart diseases that affect both men and women. The term “cardiovascular diseases” (CVD) is also popular. CVDs include heart attack, cardiomyopathy, atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, and pulmonary embolism etc.

More men develop heart disease than women, but CVD is the leading cause of mortality in women. Despite publicity, only 55–56% of the women are aware of heart diseases as their “Number 1 killer.” Notice some facts about heart diseases in women:

  • One in every five U.S. women dies because of cardiovascular disease.
  • Coronary artery disease can affect women age 20 or more in the U.S.
  • Cardiovascular disease prevalence increases with aging.
  • Broken heart syndrome and coronary microvascular disease are the most common diseases affecting women.

Different Female Heart Disease Symptoms

A reason heart disease is common among women is most do not recognize CVD indications. Women manifest different symptoms than men. So diagnosis comes later in the development of CVD. Aging greatly contributes to heart diseases in women. Emotional stress is also a trigger for heart attacks.

The early signs of heart disease symptoms that usually occur when a woman is at rest include:

  • Chest discomfort (angina)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Pain in jaws, throat, or neck
  • Nausea

Later signs of cardiovascular disease include:

  • Heartburn
  • Anxiety
  • Weight gain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Swelling in lower extremities
  • Wheezing

Silent heart disease symptoms results in late diagnosis of as a result of:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Arrhythmia

Heart Disease Risk Determinants

Common risk factors of heart diseases affecting both men and women include high cholesterol and hypertension. Risks exclusive to women include:

  1. Depression and Stress: Emotional anxiety, stress and depression causes many heart complications in women.
  2. Diabetes: A woman with diabetes feels pain differently. For example, type 2 diabetes can cause symptomless heart disease.
  3. Complications in Pregnancy: Pregnant women can develop permanent diabetes and high blood pressure, contributing to cardiovascular diseases.
  4. Premature Menopause: There is a correlation between premature menopause and the development of heart disease because low estrogen levels shrink blood vessels.
  5. No Physical Activity: Having a sedentary lifestyle increases a woman’s chance of heart disorders. There are exceptions, but research reveals that men tend to be more physically active.

Heart Disease in Young Women

Women who are over 40 years of age have a greater risk of developing heart diseases. This does not mean that young females are immune. Women of all ages, especially those with a family history, are prone to CVDs.

Women Reduce Risk of Heart Disease

Making these simple lifestyle changes can significantly reduce the risks of heart disease:

  • Eat a Healthy Diet: Trans fats, too much salt, added sugars, and processed foods destroy your health. Replace them with fiber-rich foods, veggies, lean meat, low-fat dairy products, and fruits.
  • Limit Alcohol: Distilled spirits, wine, and alcohol are harmful, even in small amounts. Quit or limit the use of alcohol to prevent CVDs.
  • Avoid Tobacco: Smoking or chewing tobacco leads to many adverse heart conditions, including heart disease.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity increases the risks of high cholesterol, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases. Your doctor can recommend the ideal weight for you to improve heart health.
  • Exercise Regularly: Remain active throughout the day. Regular exercising, aerobic activity, or brisk walking keeps you physically active and maintains a healthy heart.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends the following tips:

  • Go for a walk to the nearby park or grocery store.
  • Take the stairs instead of using elevators.
  • Walk or do cycling for daily errands.

Heart Care

Since heart disease is a prominent cause of death in women, early diagnosis and prevention reduce the risks. Regular doctor visits are important even when there are no symptoms. If symptoms develop, immediately visit the nearby cardiology hospital so that they can provide treatment to prevent heart damage.

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Updated: Oct 19, 2022

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