Heart Attack in Women- Are You at Risk?
You would not expect a woman barely in her forties to do a research about heart attacks in women. Strokes are normally men's health issue, aren't they? And if you are reading this article, you probably aren't a morbidly obese business man often depicted in movies getting heart attack, right? Well, as it happens, there has been two deaths due to heart attack in my community, both in women in their forties. And now you probably can relate why knowing your risk factor is of utmost importance. As a matter of fact, every 80 seconds a woman in the US dies from a heart attack.
Symptoms of Heart Attack in Women
Heart attack doesn’t always feel the same in women as it does in men and that is why it is so confusing and often dismissed by medical professionals.
Women don't always get the same classic heart attack symptoms as men, such as crushing chest pain that radiates down one arm.
1. Chest pain or discomfort. Chest pain is the most common heart attack symptom, but some women may experience it differently than men. It may feel like a squeezing or fullness, and the pain can be anywhere in the chest, not just on the left side.
2. Pain in your arm(s), back, neck, or jaw. This type of pain is more common in women than in men. It may confuse women who expect their pain to be focused on their chest and left arm, not their back or jaw.
3. Stomach pain. Sometimes people mistake stomach pain that signals a heart attack with heartburn, the flu, or a stomach ulcer. Other times, women experience severe abdominal pressure.
4. Shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheadedness like having trouble breathing for no apparent reason.
5. Breaking out in a nervous, cold sweat is common among women who are having a heart attack. It will feel more like stress-related sweating.
6. Overall fatigue
1. Know your family history (you may be at increased risk of heart attack if you have a parent who has or had a heart disease).
2. Stop smoking. According to statistics, women smoke at the same rate as men. People who smoke not only are at much greater risk of getting cancer but the risk of heart attack increases as well.
3. Loose weight. Overweight and obese people are at risk of getting numerous chronic diseases.
4. Move. Leading a sedentary lifestyle is compared to smoking nowadays and also increases your risk of heart attack.
5. Eat a healthy diet. A diet full of vegetables and fruit, fiber, healthy fats and moderate amount of protein and grains is the best prevention of chronic diseases.
6. Learn to be resilient to stress. Practice stress relief techniques such as meditation, yoga, tapping and find time for self care.
7. Stop taking NSAIDs, like ibuprofen and educate yourself about natural pain relievers. NSAIDs cause you to hold on to potassium (too much potassium can cause a heart attack and over time can lead to kidney damage in some people).
8. Stop using the birth control pill. Learn about natural birth control methods. The pill raises the risk of heart attacks (check the leaflet, there is a black box warning for increased risk of serious cardiovascular events).
A useful health assessment and improvement tool My Life Check