Women’s Heart Health: What You Need to Know About Heart Disease Symptoms and Risk Factors

Baltimore, Maryland – Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for women in the United States, affecting 1 in 5 women. Despite this statistic, only 56% of American women are aware that heart disease is their number one killer. More than 60 million women in the US are living with some form of heart disease, yet awareness of the risks remains low. This highlights the importance of educating women about the different types of heart disease, how it affects them differently than men, and the symptoms they should be aware of.

Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease for women, caused by narrowed or blocked arteries in the heart. Other types include heart rhythm abnormalities, heart failure, and structural abnormalities of the heart. These conditions can have unique implications for women’s heart health, and it’s important for them to be aware of the potential risks and warning signs.

Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN wellness expert and emergency physician, emphasized the importance of managing existing medical conditions that increase the risk of heart disease. High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and smoking are all major risk factors that women should address to improve their cardiac health. It’s also important to consider the role of stress, sleep, and mental well-being, as these factors can also influence heart health.

One key challenge for women is the higher likelihood of experiencing non-classic symptoms of a heart attack, making it harder to diagnose. Women should pay close attention to symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, upper abdomen discomfort, and seek prompt medical attention if they suspect cardiac issues. It’s crucial for women to advocate for themselves and communicate any unusual symptoms to their healthcare providers.

Additionally, women of child-bearing age should be aware of potential cardiac problems that can occur during pregnancy, as certain conditions may manifest during pregnancy and affect heart health both during and after pregnancy. Being proactive about heart health before, during, and after pregnancy is essential for women’s overall well-being.

By raising awareness of the differences in how heart disease affects women and encouraging proactive measures to improve cardiac health, women can take control of their well-being and reduce the risk of heart-related complications. Taking steps to manage risk factors, recognizing warning signs, and seeking medical attention when needed are essential for ensuring women’s heart health.