Here’s the classic movie scene…an older man gets upset, clutches his chest and collapses to the ground. In this scenario, almost everyone would bet that the man is having a heart attack. The problem is that sometimes heart attacks aren’t so obvious, especially in women. Interestingly, the overall number of deaths caused by heart disease has decreased over the years, but the numbers haven’t decreased as much in women as in men. As we begin American Heart Month, let’s talk about why.
What’s Different For Women
The symptoms of heart disease are often different for women than they are for men. Women are more likely to have less severe symptoms, and chest pain may not be their main complaint. Nausea, shortness of breath, back pain, dizziness and sweating are just a few things that women may complain about when they are having a heart attack. Women often have these symptoms when they are resting or asleep, and they are more likely to seek medical attention after the heart attack has already occurred and the damage is done.
What Should I Do?
The good news is that many risk factors are in our control! You’ve heard this before; diet and exercise make a huge difference! Cut out the extra salt and season up your food with other spices, get your steps in for the day, don’t smoke and lose the extra pounds. It’s easier said than done, that’s for sure! If you are overwhelmed with these changes and choices, try picking one thing to tackle at a time. In the end you are working toward a better life and better health.
Ladies, don’t stick your head in the sand when it comes to heart disease…it is a killer! Talk your doctor about your heart disease risk factors, and don’t ignore the symptoms that aren’t the classic, chest clutching pain we see in the movies. Seek medical attention ASAP!
How Can The Woman’s Clinic Help?
Our doctors at The Woman’s Clinic in Jackson, MS, are here to help keep your heart healthy! See what Dr. Nicols says about heart disease in women here. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors at your yearly exam. If you need help maintaining a healthy weight, check out our Healthy Me program. If you have any concerns, make an appointment with one of doctors today. And remember, you can see your doctor at either our Jackson or Madison location.