Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Coronary heart disease, where one or more of the arteries are blocked, is the leading cause of heart attacks. The American Heart Association estimates an American has a heart attack about every 40 seconds.
It may surprise you to learn that women are more likely to die from a heart attack than men. Unfortunately, heart disease is underdiagnosed in women, and some are unaware that their symptoms are signaling a heart attack. Symptoms vary based on gender, and while men tend to have the telltale signs of a heart attack, most women experience vague or uncommon symptoms.
Heart Attacks in Men vs. Women
Heart disease is mistakenly assumed to be predominant in men, and women tend to minimize their symptoms and delay seeking treatment. Because symptoms for women can be hard to recognize, they do not always get checked by their doctor. Heart attack symptoms in women include:
- Pain between shoulder blades
- Unexplained fatigue, dizziness, or vomiting
- Indigestion or heartburn-like pain
- Shortness of breath
- Uncomfortable pressure or “squeezing” feeling in chest that may spread to the arm
- Cold sweat
Symptoms of a heart attack in men include:
- Back, neck, or jaw pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Heartburn or indigestion
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pressure or pain
If you experience any of the mentioned signs or symptoms, don’t hesitate to call 911. Every second counts in the event of a heart attack. The sooner you receive medical help, the better your prognosis.
Preventing Heart Disease
Being overweight is a big risk factor for heart attacks. Rates of obesity have continued to climb in the U.S. Keeping your blood pressure, BMI (body mass index), cholesterol, blood sugar, and weight under control can help prevent the start of heart disease; as can quitting smoking and limiting or eliminating alcohol from your diet. If you have been prescribed medication for blood pressure or cholesterol levels, remember to be consistent and take them as recommended.
Schedule a Check Up with your Provider
If you have a family history of cardiac issues, or have any risk factors, talk to your doctor about cardiovascular screenings. Your doctor will determine how frequently you should be screened and continue to monitor your cardiovascular health.
To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced cardiologists, call 716-706-2113, or to schedule an appointment with a primary care physician, call 716-706-2112.