While many people may associate heart disease with men’s health, it should receive just as much attention when discussing women’s health, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the top cause of death in women living in the U.S. and is responsible for nearly 25 percent of female deaths.
Fortunately, despite its prevalence, heart disease is preventable, and there are ways to maximize your general sense of well-being. Below, we’ll outline everything you’ll need to know about heart disease in women so that you can take control of your health.
Common Heart Disease Risk Factors for Women
Heart disease is one of the most common female health problems experienced by women throughout the world. As a pressing health concern, it’s vital to know what signs to be on the lookout for to resolve this issue immediately.
Do you know the typical heart disease risk factors for women? Here’s a look at 4 complications that may play a substantial role in a woman’s development of heart disease and the best ways to manage these symptoms:
1. Mental Distress
Mental issues such as depression and anxiety are significantly influential to an individual’s general sense of well-being. While these complications may seem emotionally taxing, they have a profound impact on your overall body — the heart included.
Mental distress caused by illnesses like depression and anxiety can interfere with your stress hormone levels and make it more difficult to pay attention to healthy practices. Patients may be less prone to eating healthy and remaining active — two crucial actions which support a healthy heart.
If you’re struggling with a mental illness, consider seeking a form of talk therapy or a medication plan that will help you effectively manage your symptoms.
Approximately 12 percent of women have a form of diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association. While diabetes is a health concern in and of itself, it’s also a comorbid disease that occurs in conjunction with other risks — notably heart disease.
Heart disease in women may manifest as a result of diabetes when high blood glucose levels cause significant damage to the blood vessels that control and monitor the heart. Any woman with a history of diabetes should maintain an effective treatment plan to minimize the impact of her condition.
Although menopause isn’t a disease, the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle does provoke a mixture of bodily changes that may increase the likelihood of cardiovascular diseases.
When a woman undergoes menopause, her changing estrogen levels coupled with an increase in blood pressure may be the culprits behind her heightened risk. Because menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life and can’t be avoided, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to counteract any potential disruptions in the body that may impact the heart.
It’s widely known that being overweight coupled with a lack of inactivity can put added strain on a patient’s heart. When a woman is obese, she increases other likelihood of contracting other risk factors, including hypertension, inflammation, abnormal cholesterol, diabetes, and blood pressure abnormalities. Since being overweight has an overall negative effect on the body, these adverse changes have a harmful impact on the heart.
The top two ways to resolve this issue are exercise and a healthy diet. When a woman maintains a healthy weight, her body has an easier time pumping blood through the heart — supporting a better sense of overall health.
What Are the Signs of Heart Disease in Women?
Not every woman experiences heart disease in the same way. However, the symptoms and signs outlined below serve as early warning signs of a disturbance in many women’s’ cardiovascular health:
- Pain, discomfort, or tightness in the heart
- Feeling lightheaded, dizzy, or fainting
- An irregular heart rhythm
- Chronic exhaustion and fatigue
- Swollen ankles, feet, or legs
If anything ever seems abnormal in your overall health, it’s best to consult with a primary care doctor to ensure that your cardiovascular health is in optimal shape.
Why You Should Care About Heart Disease
Approximately two-thirds of coronary heart disease deaths in women happen when the patient demonstrates no previous side effects or symptoms. Regardless of your age, ethnicity, lifestyle, or general sense of well-being, learning more about heart disease is incredibly beneficial and can help provide a woman with a sense of guidance when looking to lead a long and healthy life.
It’s important to understand what minimizes an individual’s risk of contracting this disease so that they not only know how to mitigate their risk, but they also know what changes they need to make in their life today.
Heart disease in women may be common, but that doesn’t mean it has to happen to you, too. The more you know about this leading health issue, the more prepared you are to ward it off so that you can enjoy excellent cardiovascular health.