Heart attack deaths in women under 55 are on the rise, don’t make these mistakes.
Ancient myths are still causing women to be confused about their own health and well being. Many times in the past when a woman complained about her health it was discounted as ‘hysteria’ or she was a ‘hypochondriac.’ Women, like men, need to share their health concerns to get proper treatment.
Other confusions have been created by early medical studies being conducted only with men and therefore women’s health and specific information being left out. One example of this is heart disease. Only recently has it been communicated that heart attacks in women present symptoms differently than men (or television representations).
Read through the following for women’s symptoms and other tips to manage your own heart health. Share what you think.
Christina Costanzo was 32 when she had her first heart attack. It all started on a Friday.
“I had chest pain. I had pain in my jaw, pain going down my left arm. I had some shortness of breath,” Costanzo recalls.
But Costanzo who is a nurse practitioner in New Haven, Conn., didn’t realize right away that these were symptoms of a heart attack. She figured this was just her body reacting to stress, and she didn’t want to overreact.
“I didn’t want to go to the ER and wait for hours only to be told that there was nothing wrong with me,” she says. “So I waited till Monday and I saw my primary care.”
It was only then that Costanzo discovered she had had a heart attack — a big one. Costanzo’s story isn’t unique.
15,000+ women under 55 die of heart disease (US) each year
Women (<55) are twice as likely to die after heart attack hospitalized as are men of the same age group
Women tend to wait much longer than men to go to the ER for heart attacks
In the ER women’s symptoms are often misdiagnosed
… In a recent study (by Judith Lichtman, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health) published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, … It turned out that many women in the study didn’t really know what a heart attack is supposed to feel like.
Heart Attack Signs in Women:
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.
Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. Butwomen are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
** If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.
…. But even when the women suspected that they were having a heart attack, many said they were hesitant to bring it up. “Many of them said that they were concerned about being wrong, or having a false alarm,” Lichtman says….
Women know their bodies more than anyone so if you sense something wrong share it with your physician. Share you family’s history and know your cholesterol and blood pressure. Your healthy ranges may be different from the standard charts.
Another way to determine if you need to be concerned with your heart health is use this: “Heart Attack Risk Calculator” from the American Heart/Stroke Association.
Top Prevention Tips for Heart Disease:
Quitting smoking can reduce risk by 50% in as little as one year after
More activity – Walking at least 30 minutes a day can reduce risk
Diet changes – USDA recommendations are inadequate because they are greatly influenced by food industry lobbies. Combined guidelines state some of the best diet changes are: