Heart disease and stroke cause one in three deaths among women each year—more
than all cancers combined. American women are five times more likely to
die of heart disease than breast cancer. While heart attack survival rates
have improved overall, women are diagnosed less frequently, are less inclined
to seek prompt medical care and are therefore less likely to survive a
heart attack. Raising awareness can help save women’s lives.
Some factors that put you at risk for heart disease may be beyond your
control, but there are things you can do to help prevent problems. Schedule
an annual well woman visit with your healthcare provider. Talk with your
doctor about your risk factors and family history. Know your numbers –
blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Making lifestyle changes
can help you live a healthier life and provides benefits for your cardiovascular
health. Eat less sugar and simple carbohydrates. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Exercise. Don’t smoke.
Know the Signs
You may not realize that the signs and symptoms of a heart attack in women
can be different or less noticeable than men. Women are less likely to
experience typical chest pain during a heart attack. They often experience
symptoms such as:
- Presence of vague chest discomfort
- Jaw pain
- Back pain
- Heaviness of the arms
- Burning in the upper abdomen
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling flushed
- Clammy skin
- Unusual or unexplained fatigue
- Abnormal belching
If you think you are having a heart attack, call 911 immediately! Emergency
medical personnel can begin life-saving treatment right away, even before
you get to the hospital. Survive. Don’t Drive!