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Symptoms, Causes and Treatment of Heart Disease in Texas Women.

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  2. What heart attack symptoms are more common in women? Women are more likely than men to have a different symptom of heart attack than chest pain or discomfort. These symptoms include: Pain in the back, neck, jaw, or throat Indigestion Heartburn Nausea (feeling sick to the stomach) Vomiting Extreme fatigue (tiredness) Problems breathing (shortness of breath) Women are more likely than men to have heart attacks that do not show obvious symptoms. These are called silent heart attacks. All women should know and talk about their risk factors for heart attack with their doctor or nurse. What should I do if I have heart attack symptoms? If you think you, or someone else, may be having a heart attack, call 911 right away. Do not drive yourself to the hospital, and do not let a friend drive you. You may need medical help on the way to the hospital. Ambulance workers are trained to treat you on the way to the emergency room. Getting to the hospital quickly is important. Treatments for opening clogged arteries work best within the first hour after a heart attack starts. If you think you're having a heart attack, get emergency help right away. Don't let anyone tell you that you are overreacting or to wait and see. Get tips on how best to describe your symptoms and how to ask for tests that can show whether you're having a heart attack. What is a silent heart attack? A silent heart attack is a heart attack that does not cause obvious symptoms. Your doctor may discover a silent heart attack days, weeks, or months later on an electrocardiogram test used to diagnose a heart problem. Silent heart attack: Is more common in women than in men Can happen to women younger than 65. Younger women who have silent heart attacks without chest pain are more likely to die compared to younger men who have silent heart attacks without chest pain. Is more likely to happen in women with diabetes. Diabetes can change how you sense pain, making you less likely to notice heart attack symptoms.
  3. Heart Disease and Stroke Heart disease and stroke are important health issues for all women. Heart disease is the number one killer of American women, and stroke is fourth. While heart disease is most common in older women, most women between 40 and 60 years old have at least one risk factor for heart disease. The good news is that you can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke at any age. In the United States, 1 in 4 women dies from heart disease. The most common cause of heart disease in both men and women is narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart itself. This is called coronary artery disease, and it happens slowly over time. It's the major reason people have heart attacks. Heart diseases that affect women more than men include Coronary microvascular disease (MVD) - a problem that affects the heart's tiny arteries Broken heart syndrome - extreme emotional stress leading to severe but often short-term heart muscle failure The older a woman gets, the more likely she is to get heart disease. But women of all ages should be concerned about heart disease. All women can take steps to prevent it by practicing healthy lifestyle habits. Heart attack symptoms Many people think the warning signs of a heart attack are sudden, like a movie heart attack, where someone clutches his chest and falls over. A real heart attack may look and feel very different for women. Women are more likely to have nontraditional symptoms of heart attack than men. And women are also more likely to have silent heart attacks. How do I know if I'm having a heart attack? For both women and men, the most common heart attack symptom is pain or discomfort in the center of the chest. The pain or discomfort can be mild or strong. It can last more than a few minutes, or it can go away and come back. The more heart attack symptoms that you have, the more likely it is that you are having a heart attack.1 Also, if you've already had a heart attack, your symptoms may not be the same for another one. Even if you are not totally sure you are having a heart attack, call 911 right away.
  4. Other diseases and conditions, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, can also increase a woman’s risk of heart disease. According to new guidelines released by the AHA, illnesses linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease should now be incorporated into a woman’s overall risk factor evaluation. Physical inactivity is a significant risk factor for heart disease, yet millions of Americans still don’t exercise at all. Many studies have shown that exercise reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke, increases HDL cholesterol levels, regulates glucose, lowers blood pressure, and increases the flexibility of arteries. Exercise has also been shown to reduce mental stress as well. You can benefit from exercising even it is only for 30 minutes a day, at least three times a week, but more will reap better benefits. Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) may pose an increased cardiovascular risk for women, especially those with other risk factors such as smoking. Researchers believe that birth control pills raise blood pressure and blood sugar levels in some women, as well as increase the risk of blood clots. The risks associated with birth control pills increase as women get older. Women should tell their doctors about any other cardiovascular risk factors they have before they begin taking birth control pills. Excessive alcohol intake can contribute to obesity, raise triglyceride and blood pressure levels, cause heart failure, and lead to stroke. Although studies have shown that the risk of heart disease in people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol is lower than in nondrinkers, this does not mean that nondrinkers should start drinking alcohol or that those who do drink should increase the amount they drink. For women, a moderate amount of alcohol is an average of one drink per day. Stress is considered a contributing risk factor for both sexes, especially as it leads to other risk factors such as smoking and overeating. Depression can affect how women deal with their health issues or follow their doctor’s advice. According to American Heart Association guidelines, depression screening should now be part of an overall evaluation of women for cardiovascular risk. Many risk factors that contribute to heart disease can be controlled. Quitting smoking, losing weight, exercising, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, controlling diabetes, and reducing stress are within every woman’s grasp.
  5. Cholesterol levels are also related to a person’s risk of heart disease. Doctors look at how your levels of LDL, HDL, and fats called triglycerides relate to each other and to your total cholesterol level. Before menopause, women in general have higher cholesterol levels than men because estrogen increases HDL levels in the blood. A study reported in the American Journal of Cardiology found that HDL levels were the most important predictor of cardiovascular health. That is, the higher a woman’s HDL level, the less likely she is to have a cardiovascular event such as heart attack or stroke. But after menopause, HDL levels tend to drop, increasing the risk of heart disease. HDL and LDL cholesterol levels can be improved by diet, exercise, and, in serious cases, statins or other cholesterol-lowering medicines. Obesity is a strong predictor for heart disease, especially among women. A person is considered obese if body weight exceeds the “desirable” weight for height and gender by 20 percent or more. Where fat settles on the body is also an important predictor. Women who have a lot of fat around the waist are at greater risk than those who have fat around the hips. In the United States, about one third of women are classified as obese. A plan of diet and exercise approved by your doctor is the best way to safely lose weight. Diabetes is more common in overweight, less active women and poses a greater risk because it cancels the protective effects of estrogen in premenopausal women. Results of one study showed that women with diabetes have a higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease than men with diabetes have. The increased risk may also be explained by the fact that most diabetic patients tend to be overweight and physically inactive, have high cholesterol levels, and are more likely to have high blood pressure. Proper management of diabetes is important for cardiovascular health
  6. Modifiable Risk Factors for Women Women need to be aware of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and the importance of making lifestyle changes that may reduce those risks. Factors such as race, increasing age, and a family history of heart disease cannot be changed. Other risk factors, however, can be changed or eliminated by making informed decisions about cardiovascular health. Smoking is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Although the overall number of adult smokers has decreased in this country during the last 20 years, the number of teenaged girls who smoke has increased. Cigarette smoking combined with the use of birth control pills greatly increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. The good news is that no matter how long or how much someone has smoked, smokers can immediately reduce their risk of heart attack by quitting. After 1 year of not smoking, the excess risk of heart disease created by smoking is reduced 80%; after 7 years of not smoking, all the risk from smoking is gone. It is never too late to stop smoking. High blood pressure, or hypertension is a silent disease. If left untreated, it makes the heart work harder, speeds up hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), and increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. Women who have a history of high blood pressure, black women with high blood pressure, and overweight women with high blood pressure are also at greater risk. Although high blood pressure cannot be cured, it can be controlled with diet, exercise, and, if necessary, medicines. High blood pressure is a lifelong risk and requires effective long-term management, including regular blood pressure checks and the appropriate medicines. Pregnancy may trigger high blood pressure, especially during the third trimester, but high blood pressure caused by pregnancy usually goes away after childbirth. This is called pregnancy-induced hypertension. Another form of high blood pressure that can occur during pregnancy is called preeclampsia, and it is usually accompanied by swelling and increased protein in the urine. Women with a history of preeclampsia face double the risk of stroke, heart disease and dangerous clotting in their veins during the 5 to 15 years after pregnancy.
  7. Estrogen and Heart Disease Studies have shown that after menopause, women experience an increased risk of heart disease. Researchers have connected this pattern to decreasing levels of the female hormone estrogen during menopause—a process that begins around age 50. Estrogen is associated with higher levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good cholesterol”) and lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad cholesterol”). Withdrawal of the natural estrogen that occurs in menopause leads to lower “good cholesterol” and higher “bad cholesterol” thus increasing the risk of heart disease. Because the life expectancy for women in the United States is 79 years, women can expect to live a large part of their lives with an increased risk of heart disease. In fact, 1 out of 4 women older than 65 has some form of identified heart disease. Researchers have looked at how hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may affect women who already have heart disease and those who don’t. After several years of study and numerous clinical trials with differing results, the AHA still does not advise women to take HRT to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke. Women should weigh the risks of HRT and discuss them with their doctor. For the symptoms of menopause, including bone loss, effective non-hormonal treatments are available.
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