How Women Experience Heart Disease

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Women experiencing heart disease symptoms

Heart disease is mostly discussed in the context of male health, but it is as concerning a condition for women. While men may contract the condition more than women, it remains the leading cause of death for all Americans regardless of gender. The most frequently diagnosed case of heart disease is Coronary Artery Disease or CAD. More commonly referred to as coronary heart disease, it is a substantial threat to women’s health everywhere. Learn more about the potential risks and steps you can take to protect yourself.

How Women Experience Heart Disease

One aspect of heart disease remains unchanged across the genders. Without the necessary lifestyle changes, heart disease is a serious and potentially life-threatening risk to our health. While men tend to be affected by this condition at a younger age, levels rise in post-menopausal women. This is partially due to the elevated estrogen level in their bodies, which is known for its ability to maintain healthy HDL levels. However, after menopause arrives, estrogen levels decline, and with it, HDL levels begin to drop.

HDL stands for High-Density Lipoproteins, which are often referred to as “good” cholesterol. The function of HDL is to scrub cholesterol from the bloodstream and transfer it to the liver. High HDL levels reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. Once these levels begin to drop, it becomes more likely for women to develop CAD due to their arteries hardening from the presence of cholesterol. 

Women also have narrower blood vessels throughout the body, including the heart, and narrower walls on the heart. Since women often experience the onset of CAD later than men, it sometimes gets overlooked until it becomes serious.

For this reason, every woman should know the symptoms of CAD. Women typically experience different symptoms than those identified by men. Some examples include:

  • Chest Pain or Discomfort – This condition, also known as angina, often appears in men with CAD when they’re being active. On the other hand, women tend to experience it while resting.
  • Crushing Pressure – Women often report that heart attacks reveal themselves through the tightness in the chest. These symptoms can be described as crushing or squeezing. They may occasionally travel up to the neck, chest, or throat. Men experiencing a heart attack more often report these symptoms in their arms or as a sharp pain in their chest.

There are several factors that can increase women’s risk of developing CAD. These include early menopause, anemia, a sedentary lifestyle, endometriosis, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, endometriosis, and gestational blood disorder anemia.

Speak To Your Health Provider About Heart Disease In Women

It’s important that you involve your physician in the discussion surrounding heart disease. They can help you learn what to look for and advise lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk level. Further, they’ll be able to identify your potential risk factors and determine whether heart disease is something you need to be worried about. Call and schedule your appointment today to get more information about heart disease in women and start taking steps to protect your health.

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