Heart attack symptoms are well known to be chest pain or pressure, pain radiating down your left arm or up into your jaw. But did you know that those symptoms are more common in men?
Women are more likely to feel differently than men while having a heart attack. They typically experience upper abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath and back pain or pressure. Because of these differences women are more likely to believe their symptoms are caused by non life-threatening things such as acid reflux or the flu. They usually do not seek medical attention.
Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the United States, which is devastating as it’s also fairly preventable. Heart disease is caused by plaque and fatty cholesterol building up in your blood stream, clinging to the artery walls and thickening them, which lessens or blocks the amount of blood moving to your organs and tissues. Risk factors for heart disease that you can change include an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, smoking, excessive use of alcohol or caffeine, and stress. Having a parent with heart disease or a congenital heart defect also puts you at great risk.
Women are typically taking care of so many things in life that it’s easy to neglect your own self care and ignore what seem to be minor symptoms. The Mayo Clinic suggests the following 6 things to help prevent heart disease: Stop smoking, control your blood pressure, lower cholesterol, maintain a healthy weight, and control diabetes. Those are “big picture” areas of your health. Evaluate how you are doing in each one and make a few small changes in the areas where you rank yourself lower. Make healthy choices where possible. Increase activity and exercise. Limit indulgences, alcohol and caffeine. See your doctor annually for checkups and screenings. If you develop any signs of a heart attack whether typical or atypical seek medical care immediately. If you have any concerns about heart disease symptoms, call The Woman’s Clinic today. We want to help you get on the road to better health. Take care of your heart so that you can continue taking care of those people and things that are in your heart.