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A Thorough Overview of Heart Diseases in Women

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A Thorough Overview of Heart Diseases in Women

Cardiology | by Dr. Ashok B Malpani | Published on 30/11/2023


Introduction 

Heart diseases are often determined to be more common in men. However, it is among the most common reasons for death for women as well. It is important that females also stay aware of the risk factors and involve a heart-healthy lifestyle to prevent complications. Healthy lifestyle changes involve a healthy diet, regular exercise, stress management, quitting smoking, and controlling conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. 

Frequent check-ups with a cardiologist assist in monitoring and maintaining cardiovascular health and assessing the risk factors including symptoms. If you suspect heart disease or have concerns, then book your appointment with the cardiac hospital in Kolkata, BM Birla Heart Research Center. You will find the best and most highly professional doctors here. 

In this blog, we will involve the discussion about heart disease in women including its symptoms, risk factors, and tips to maintain heart disease. However, note that this is for informative purposes only and we do not promote ignoring the doctor’s consultation in any way. 

What is heart disease in women? 

Heart disease in women is linked to several conditions affecting the blood vessels and heart. It involves problems like heart failure, irregular heartbeat, or coronary artery disease. It is vital to identify the symptoms of heart disease in females as it can vary from those in males. Women must be mindful of the heart disease symptoms and must seek immediate medical intervention. Frequent check-ups and a healthy lifestyle help contribute to heart health among both males and females. 

Heart attack symptoms for women

One of the most common symptoms of heart disease in women is similar to men which includes chest pain, discomfort, pressure, etc. These symptoms usually last for not more than a few minutes. 

It is vital to know that chest pain is not serious or always the observable symptom, specifically in females. Females often experience heart attacks as pressure in the chest or chest tightness. It is possible to experience a heart attack without chest pain. 

Females are more vulnerable than men to experience heart attack symptoms linked to chest pain like: 

  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Pain in a single or both arms 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Discomfort in the neck, jaw, shoulder, or upper abdomen 
  • Sweating 
  • Abnormal fatigue 
  • Heartburn
  • Lightheadedness 

These symptoms are unclear at times and not visible as the whooshing chest pain is usually linked to heart attacks. It is because females not only have blockages in their arteries but also the smaller ones supplying blood to the heart. Women also experience these symptoms when in resting mode, or during sleep. As per research, it is identified that emotional stress plays a vital role in provoking heart attack symptoms in females. Women are also not diagnosed with heart illnesses very often when compared to men. However, they are susceptible to experiencing heart attack even with no serious artery blockage. 

When to see a doctor

You must get in touch with a doctor immediately if you notice a sign of a heart attack or believe that you are having one. Make sure to call emergency medical assistance and do not consider driving yourself to the emergency except you have no other way out.

Heart disease risk factors for women

Certain risk factors are there for heart disease in women like high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol. However, other factors also contribute to developing heart disease in women. Here are these risk factors: 

  • Diabetes- Females who have diabetes are more vulnerable to experiencing heart disease. It also increases the probability of a silent heart attack in women with no symptoms. 
  • Emotional stress and depression- Studies have suggested that women tend to experience more stress and depression than men. Because of this, it becomes difficult for them to manage and alter their lifestyle and follow the treatment suggested for other health problems. 
  • Smoking- Women who smoke are at great risk of developing heart disease in women. 
  • Inactivity- Females who are not into exercising at all can experience major heart-related problems. 
  • Menopause- Due to low estrogen levels after menopause, women tend to develop problems in smaller blood vessels leading to heart conditions. 
  • Pregnancy complications- Diabetes and high blood pressure increase the risk of experiencing these conditions in the long term. It also puts them at risk of developing heart problems. 
  • Family history- Women are vulnerable to developing heart-related conditions if they have a family history of heart issues.
  • Inflammatory diseases- These involve problems like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions which puts females at a higher risk of experiencing heart conditions. 

Lifestyle and home remedies

It is vital to understand living a healthy lifestyle helps in reducing the risk of developing heart disease in women to a great extent. Here are certain tips to follow for a healthy heart:

  • If you are not a smoker, then don’t even start. Make sure to get exposed to passive smoking and if you smoke then quit the habit as soon as possible. Smoking can damage blood vessels greatly. 
  • Make sure to involve eating habits like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat, and fat-free dairy products. You must refrain from saturated or trans fat, added sugars, and eating salt.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight is very important for a healthy heart. Losing weight can help in reducing the risk of heart disease in women to a great extent. 
  • Stress management is vital for women as it leads to tightening the arteries which enhances the risk of heart disease, mainly a condition called coronary microvascular disease. Hence, it is recommended to get involved in exercise and practice mindfulness. Support groups are also helpful in reducing stress. 
  • Limit alcohol- If you drink, then it is recommended to do so in moderation. Don't more than one drink a day, however, it is better to quit this habit as well. 
  • Follow treatment plan- To prevent heart disease in women, it is recommended to take medications like blood pressure medicines, aspirin, and blood thinners. 
  • Management of other health conditions- Doctors recommend women to manage conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol as it enhances the risk of developing heart conditions.

Heart disease treatment in women

Generally, heart disease treatment in women and men is quite similar involving medications, stenting and angioplasty, or coronary bypass surgery. Here are some treatment options often involved in treating heart disease in women:

  • Medications- Doctors often recommend medications like aspirin and statins to avert the probability of heart attacks in the future.
  • Surgical procedures- In certain cases, women who experience serious heart conditions might be recommended surgical procedures like coronary artery bypass surgery or angioplasty for conditions like small vessel disease. 
  • Cardiac rehabilitation- It helps in improving heart health and aiding recovery from heart conditions. 

Conclusion

Heart diseases these days are very common for both men and women. However, it is believed that heart problems occur in men more than women. Well, that’s not true, because heart diseases are among one of the most common reasons for death in women. Hence, it is recommended to visit a cardiologist often for frequent check-ups and regular screening to ensure good heart health. If you are someone who has a heart problem, make sure to follow a healthy lifestyle and work with your doctor to manage the condition. With healthy choices and the right treatment solutions, it is easy to prevent the risk of the development of heart conditions. 

FAQ -

 

How to prevent heart disease in women? 

Lifestyle changes like eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol, management of stress, and other health conditions help in preventing heart disease in women. 

Are pre-menopausal women safe from heart disease? 

Yes, pre-menopausal women usually are safe from the risk of developing heart disease.