Why Are 1 in 4 Women Dying of Heart Disease? August 4, 2014

Heart disease affects both men and women; however, women face special risks that are different from those men face. At present, 1 out of every 4 women will die of heart disease. This includes left ventricle heart failure, one of the two main kinds of heart attack, which many people wrongly associate with men only. So why are so many women facing heart disease, with such a high risk rate?

There are a number of factors that contribute to the risk of left ventricle heart failure and heart disease, and many are common to men and women, such as high blood pressure, high “bad” cholesterol, obesity, smoking, heavy drinking, lack of exercise and congenital factors. But there are also risk factors that apply specifically to women. These include cultural factors, such as men being more encouraged to play sports and get exercise. But they also include simple misinformation. Since heart disease is thought of as a man’s disease, women who are having a heart attack often don’t realize it. They may attribute the symptoms to something else. Thus, treatment is delayed if it’s sought at all, which can be a fatal misjudgment.

That means it’s important for women to know the symptoms of a heart attack, which are more subtle that what we often see in movies or on TV. Symptoms of heart attacks in women include:

Pain in the neck, jaw, back or even the abdomen. This pain may not be the sudden shooting pain we associate with heart attacks. It may or may not be accompanies by chest pains. But it should always be taken seriously and heart attack should be considered as a possible culprit.
Nausea and vomiting. Sudden nausea is often explained away in women, but when there is no apparent cause it should be taken seriously.
Pain in the right arm.
Shortness of breath. Sometimes this precedes the full heart attack and often it lasts throughout the event. If breathness is short for no apparent reason, it’s a serious sign.
Sudden fatigue, when there is no reason to be fatigued.
Dizziness or lightheadedness.

Obviously, these symptoms can mean other things besides left ventricle heart failure. But when several of these symptoms happen together, it can mean a heart attack. A woman may not fall dramatically to the ground clutching her chest, but bear the subtle symptoms more quietly. When any of these symptoms are present, it’s always best to speak up and seek help immediately.

Source: Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease/art-20046167)<