The Heart Is That Matters

The Heart Is That Matters

Today I am going to talk about a common but less informed problem in women – Heart attacks. Of course, I’m not a doctor, so I have researched and wrote this because I want everyone to know what this is and how it affects women.

According to a report released on Dec 17, 2014, by the American Heart Association, 1 in every 3 people dies of a heart attack. Also,

  • The heart disease remains the number one global cause of death with 17.3 million deaths each year, according to “Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics — 2015 Update: A Report from the American Heart Association.”
  • Stroke remains the 2nd cause of death worldwide.
  • As of 2015, 15.9 million people are affected
  • By 2030, almost 23.6 million people will die from Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), mainly from heart diseases and strokes. This is projected to remain the single leading cause of death.
  • In the UK alone, 1 million men and nearly 500,000 women are living with the after-effects of a heart attack. Every 7 minutes someone in the UK will have a heart attack.

Some of the other highlights from the report include

  • Heart disease remains the nation’s leading cause of death in the U.S., a ranking it has held since 1921. Stroke still ranks fourth.
  • An estimated 85.6 million people in the U.S. are living with cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and chest pain.
  • Among U.S. adults, 32.6 percent—about 80 million—have high blood pressure.
  • Despite an overall 30.8 percent drop in cardiovascular disease death rates from 2001 to 2011, the high blood pressure death rate increased 13.2 percent over that same time.

So, what is a heart attack?

A Myocardial Infarction (MI) or heart attack is caused by a decrease or no blood flow to a part of the heart, which damages the muscle permanently. They are mainly caused by a blockage that prevents blood from flowing to the heart or brain. The most common reason for this is a build-up of fatty deposits on the inner walls of the blood vessels that supply the heart or brain.

Symptoms of a heart attack

The most common symptoms are listed below:

  1. Pain or discomfort in the center of the chest
  2. General discomfort which may travel into the shoulder, arm, back, neck or jaw.
  3. Mostly it occurs at the center or left side of the chest and lasts for more than a few minutes.
  4. The discomfort may occasionally feel like heartburn.
  5. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, feeling giddy, a cold sweat, or feeling tired.

Heart Attack Signs in Women

According to the American Heart Association(AHA), the following are the symptoms of heart attack in women:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Women experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain more likely than men.

The Cause of Heart attacks

The cause of heart attacks and strokes are usually the presence of a combination of following risk factors:

  • tobacco use
  • unhealthy diet and obesity
  • physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol
  • hypertension
  • diabetes
  • hyperlipidemia(high cholesterol)
  • Family History Also plays a part.  Patients with a family history of heart attacks have a higher chance in combination with any of the above-mentioned causes.
  • For women, there are other causes like mental stress and depression, as it affects women to an even greater extent.
  • Low levels of estrogen after menopause pose a significant risk factor for getting a heart attack in women
  • High blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy can increase women’s long-term risk of high blood pressure and diabetes and increase the risk of development of heart disease in the mothers.

How it affects women

Women of all ages should take heart disease seriously. Women with a family history of heart disease, need to pay close attention to heart disease risk factors.

How to Prevent Heart Attacks

Women can make several lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of heart disease, including:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes whole grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and lean meats.
  • Avoid saturated or trans fat, added sugars, and high amounts of salt.
  • Use meditation or any other activities to reduce stress
  • Consult a doctor if any symptoms are being felt
  • Stay Healthy and make healthy choices.
  • Walk Daily.
  • Take proper medications

I hope that this spreads an awareness of Heart Attack on Women and Men alike.


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