Celebrate Your Heart: Women and Heart Disease

There’s no coincidence that February is American Heart Month, at least in my mind. The link between heart disease and Valentine’s Day might be somewhat contrived, but both deal with the heart: one is physical and the other emotional, but the emotions can affect the heart and vice-versa, so I think they are linked.  And so does the American Heart Association, who sent me a card yesterday and prompted me to do the posting right away!

From this website: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/coronary-heart-disease we learn that
“Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death for women. About 80% of women ages 40 to 60 have one or more risk factors for coronary heart disease. Having multiple risk factors significantly increases a woman’s chance of developing coronary heart disease.”

Here are the four areas the website discusses to answer the questions:

Why does coronary heart disease affect women differently?

What factors affect risk for women differently?

Some factors raise women’s risk for coronary heart disease more than they increase risk in men.

  • Diabetes
  • Low levels of HDL cholesterol
  • Mild to moderate high blood pressure
  • Smoking
*The list here is quite long, starting with anemia, endrometriosis, high blood pressure after age 65, metabolic syndrome, overweight and obesity.

Can symptoms differ for women?

Although men and women can experience the same symptoms of coronary heart disease, women often experience no symptoms or have different symptoms than men do.

  • Activity that brings on chest pain. In men, angina tends to worsen with physical activity and go away with rest. Women are more likely than men to have angina while they are resting.
  • Location and type of pain. Pain symptoms are different for each person. Women having angina or a heart attack often describe their chest pain as crushing, or they say it feels like pressure, squeezing, or tightness. Women may have pain in the chest or the neck and throat.
  • Mental stress. Mental stress is more likely to trigger angina pain in women than in men.
  • Other symptoms. Common signs and symptoms for women include nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, sleep problems, fatigue, and lack of energy.

What do women need to know about diagnosis and treatment?

* Ask about important diagnostic tests.
*Ask about treatment options that are effective for men and women
*Know and share your risk factors.
*Learn the symptoms and seek medical care right away.
(I think his section is especially important and I encourage you to go to the website for details. es)
Since my website’s original plan was to focus on menopause (and it grew from there), I would be remiss if I did not pay special attention to heart disease and menopause. Here is a good website for that info:
Here is the opening info…direct quote: (Please go to the website for the complete article. This is only the “tickler”):
Once a woman reaches the age of 50, about the age of natural menopause, her risk for heart disease increases dramatically. In young women who have undergone early or surgical menopause, who do not take estrogen, their risk for heart disease is also higher. Women who have gone through menopause and also have other heart disease risk factors, such as the following, are at even greater risk:

Finally, use whatever is useful from the above websites. Maybe Valentine’s Day is a good time
to explore loving yourself enough to take care of your heart!

♥♥ Happy, Healthy Valentine’s Day! ♥♥

 

 I could not resist using this stock photo of valentines clipped onto a clothesline! es

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