Heart disease affects women differently than it does men. Find out how women suffer from heart disease compared to men.
While we may think that heart disease affects everyone the same, the truth is that women and men have different experiences. In fact, because women develop more subtle symptoms during a heart attack, many people will miss the signs.
“Women are much more likely to have atypical heart attack symptoms,” explains Dr. Lili Barouch, director of the Johns Hopkins Columbia Heart Failure Clinic. “So while the classical symptoms, such as chest pains, apply to both men and women, women are much more likely to get less common symptoms such as indigestion, shortness of breath, and back pain, sometimes even in the absence of obvious chest discomfort.”
Women and Heart Disease
While men and women share many heart disease risk factors, recent studies show that women also have their own unique risk factors. Some common traditional risk factors affecting both men and women include obesity, smoking, and diabetes. Other common factors include high blood pressure (hypertension), family history, high levels of C-reactive protein, and metabolic syndrome.
Nevertheless, women have their own unique risk factors like increasing hypertension during menopause, stress and depression, and relatively high testosterone levels prior to menopause. They also include autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and low-risk factor awareness, which means not recognizing these conditions as heart disease risk factors.
Lowering Your Risk Factors
Begin by being aware of the risk factors that particularly affect women and take action to lower your risk factors. For instance, you should avoid unhealthy habits like smoking and embrace a healthy lifestyle instead. In other words, you should eat a diet low in saturated fat and processed foods and high in fiber and fresh fruits and vegetables.
You should also make it a goal to exercise at least 150 minutes per week by doing aerobic activities like walking, swimming, or even dancing. Make sure that whatever activity you choose is both challenging and enjoyable so that you’ll keep doing it. You’ll also want to keep track of your cholesterol and consider getting a cardiovascular screening.
Most importantly, pay attention to your body, and don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for guidance. “If you don’t feel right, and especially if you have symptoms such as difficulty breathing, persistent nausea and abdominal pain, or any other unusual symptoms, you should talk to your doctor and not just shrug it off,” says Barouch.
In addition, you can give your health an extra boost by taking L-arginine Plus, an effective heart-health supplement. Its ingredients promote circulation and blood pressure health by enhancing nitric oxide production, which naturally widens your blood vessels and improves blood flow. Give your health the support it needs by being aware of your risk factors, practicing healthy habits, and taking L-arginine Plus.