Men, Women & Heart Disease - Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

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Men, Women & Heart Disease

The classic "Hollywood heart attack," where a man gasps, clutches his chest and falls to the ground isn’t always a real life scenario. In fact, the signs can be much less subtle, particularly for women.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke each year. That's approximately one woman every minute. Here are more of the latest findings from AHA:

  • About 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular disease.
  • 90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke.
  • Only 34% of Hispanic women and 36% of African American women know that heart disease is their greatest risk.
  • Women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men.
  • Fewer women than men survive their first heart attack.

Heart Attack Symptoms for Men & Women

The likelihood of misdiagnosing a heart attack in women is also increased by the fact that women tend to have heart attacks later in life, when they often have other diseases (such as arthritis or diabetes) that can mask heart attack symptoms. Here are heart attack symptoms more likely to occur in women:

  • Indigestion or gas-like pain 
  • Dizziness or nausea 
  • Unexplained weakness or fatigue 
  • Discomfort or pain between the shoulder blades  
  • Recurring chest discomfort 
  • Sense of impending doom

Additional Heart Attack Symptoms

  • Squeezing chest pain or pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Tightness in chest
  • Pain spreading to shoulders, neck, arm or jaw
  • Feeling of heartburn or indigestion, with or without nausea and vomiting
  • Sudden dizziness or brief loss of consciousness

Ways to Help Prevent Heart Disease

Follow these few lifestyle changes to help prevent heart disease:

  • Don't smoke
  • Manage your blood sugar and blood pressure
  • Lower your cholesterol
  • Know your family history
  • Eat healthy
  • Stay active
  • Lose and maintain a healthy weight

For More Information

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