Statistics show that women are six times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than breast cancer, the Urgent Cardiac Care Nursing Team in the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin have put together a list of signs and symptoms for women, in particular, to look out for as well as the steps that can be taken to reduce risk.
If you are experiencing symptoms such as the below, you should get checked;
- Neck, jaw, shoulder and upper back or abdominal discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in one or both arms
- Nausea or vomiting
- Unexplained perspiration
- Light-headedness of dizziness
- Unusual fatigue
Risk factors for women are different to men also, they include;
- Diabetes: Women with diabetes are at greater risk of heart disease than men with diabetes
- Mental stress and depression: Women’s hearts are affected by stress and depression more than men’s. depression makes it difficult to maintain a health lifestyle and follow recommended treatment.
- Smoking: In women, smoking is a greater risk factor for heart disease in women than it is in men
- Inactivity: A lack of physical activity is a major risk factor for heart disease
- Menopause: Low levels of oestrogen after menopause poses a significant risk for women as it has an impact on the smaller blood vessels (coronary microvascular disease)
- Pregnancy complications: High blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy can increase women’s long-term risk of high blood pressure and diabetes.
Speaking about cardiovascular disease amongst women, Sue Dardis, Urgent Cardiac Care nurse at the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin said, “Women often experience different symptoms of cardiovascular diseases than men and are more likely to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain.
“Statistics show that about one third of all Irish women die as a result of cardiovascular disease, yet many women still view heart disease as illnesses that strikes men. Women are more likely to have a heart attack without experiencing the crushing chest pain, so it is really important that they know and understand the other symptoms that can indicate something is wrong”.
Steps that can be taken in order to reduce risk factors amongst women;
- Quit smoking
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain or achieve a healthy weight
- Eat a health balanced diet including whole grains, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and lean meats. Avoid saturated or trans fats, added sugars and high amounts of salt
- Reduce stress
- Have regular health screenings in order to identify potential risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes