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Heart Disease in Women and the Symptoms

heart disease in womenHeart disease is the number one killer of American women.

Are you surprised? Most women are. Heart disease symptoms in women are far less understood than in men. But that’s not all the bad news.

The number of deaths caused by heart disease in women is higher than all the next sixteen causes of death for women put together! And death from heart disease in women is twice as high as all cancer deaths combined.

Symptoms of Heart Disease in Women

Out of the one and a half million heart attacks in the U.S. annually 500,000, or one third, result in death. And 233,000 of those who die are women.

Plus, the first SYMPTOM of heart disease is often DEATH. And even though there are more men than women who have heart attacks and strokes, a much higher percentage of women die from them than men.

The bottom line is there’s far less research done on the symptoms of heart disease in women. And studies that have been done show that heart disease symptoms in women aren’t usually typical for those in men.

Here are the most commonly known heart disease symptoms in women.

Since these are not “typical” symptoms of heart disease, women are less likely to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack. But 78% of women report at least one of the above symptoms within a month or two before a heart attack.

Only 30% report chest or upper abdomen discomfort, usually described as pressure, aching, tightness, burning, fullness or a tingling sensation that comes and goes.


Preventing Heart Disease in Women

Two studies of over half a million people, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that 90% of those with heart disease have one or more of the following four major risk factors:

But studies also show that heart disease can be prevented for most women. Here are the seven steps to prevent heart disease in women.

  1. Eat healthy.
  2. Avoid smoking.
  3. Be physically active.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight.
  5. Reduce the stress in your life.
  6. Limit or eliminate alcoholic beverages.
  7. Keep blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides at normal ranges.

These seven simple solutions to counteract the risk factors for heart disease in women are all within our control. Of course, it takes focus, discipline and commitment to make the lifestyle changes.

More CommonSenseHealth For You:
Best Foods to Eat for Great Health
How to Get Rid of Belly Fat and Waist Fat
The 7 Steps for How to Prevent Heart Disease
Diabetes Nutritional Gains from Healthy Whole Grains

References:

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Howard B, Manson J, Stefanick M, et al. Journal of the American Medical Association. Low-fat dietary pattern and weight change over 7 years: the Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial. JAMA 2006;295:39-49.

Hu FB, Cho E, Rexrode KM, Albert CM, Manson JE. American Heart Association. Fish and long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake and risk of coronary heart disease and total mortality in diabetic women. Circulation 2003;107:1852-7.

Willett W, Stampfer M, Manson J, et al. The Lancet. Intake of trans fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease among women. Lancet 1993;341:581-5.

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Halton TL, Willett WC, Liu S, et al. New England Journal of Medicine. Low-carbohydrate-diet score and the risk of coronary heart disease in women. N Engl J Med 2006; 355:1991–2002.

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