What Every Woman Should Know About Heart Disease

Heart disease is a threat to everyone regardless of gender; however, women are significantly more at risk for developing and having complications from heart disease. Knowing the risk factors, warning signs, and preventive methods is the best way to keep yourself healthy and safe. 

Our team at One Oak Medical is committed to educating you about heart disease and guiding you through it, if necessary. 

What is heart disease?

Heart disease can take on a few different forms. You may have narrowed or blocked arteries, which is called cardiovascular disease. Or you may have issues with your heart’s rhythm, also known as arrhythmias, where your heartbeat is too fast, too slow, or irregular. There are also congenital heart defects, which are problems you’re born with, as well as heart failure, when your heart has trouble pumping well enough to provide enough oxygenated blood to your tissues.

These different forms of heart disease have varying symptoms, but they all share a few tell-tale signs. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, alert your medical professional immediately:

Facts about women and heart disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the number one killer of women, and only about half of women realize that risk. In fact, about one in every five women will die from complications of heart disease, which is more than the deaths from cancer. The CDC also found that about one in 16 women 20 years and older have coronary artery disease, which means there is plaque buildup in the arteries around the heart. 

Why are women more affected by heart disease than men?

The statistics on heart disease and women may seem frightening, and frankly, just unfair. Why are women more affected by heart disease than men? There are a few risk factors that are similar between men and women, such as diabetes and smoking. However, women have some unique factors that contribute to the increased risk of heart disease. 

Menopause

The drop of estrogen levels during menopause can contribute to the development of heart disease in small blood vessels in the heart. 

Pregnancy complications

Pregnancy can cause high blood pressure, which increases the risk of developing heart disease. Pregnant women with high blood pressure also have a greater chance of passing high blood pressure and heart disease on to their children. 

Chemotherapy and radiation treatment for cancer

Unfortunately, the medications, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments most commonly used for breast cancer have been linked to increased risk of heart disease. 

Broken heart syndrome

It’s true: You can die from a broken heart. Stressful situations can actually bring about temporary but sometimes severe, heart muscle failure. Women are more likely to experience broken heart syndrome and are also more susceptible to stress and depression — all risk factors for heart disease. 

Lack of activity

Studies have shown that women are simply less active than men are. This lack of exercise is a huge contributing factor to not only poor overall health but heart disease as well. 

What can I do about heart disease?

If you’re feeling discouraged about your chances of developing or already having a coronary condition, let not your heart be troubled. There are steps you can take to decrease your risk of heart disease.

Our doctors may recommend an aspirin regimen, if it’s appropriate for you.

Heart disease can be serious, but in many cases, it can also be prevented, treated, and controlled — but don’t go through it alone. Talk to one of our doctors at One Oak Medical about your prevention and treatment options. Call us or book an appointment online. 

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