What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Disease
Although some women have no symptoms, others may have5
- Pain in the neck, jaw, or throat
- Pain in the upper abdomen or back
These symptoms may happen when you are resting or when you are doing regular daily activities. Women also may have other symptoms, including5
Sometimes heart disease may be silent and not diagnosed until you have other symptoms or emergencies, including5
- Heart attack:;Chest pain or discomfort, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, dizziness, and shortness of breath
- Arrhythmia:;Fluttering feelings in the chest
- Heart failure:;Shortness of breath, fatigue, or swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or neck veins
If you have any of these symptoms,
The Symptoms Of Heart Attack Can Be Different In Women
Men often describe their chest pain during a heart attack as a crushing weight on the chest. Some;women;also experience chest pain, but they are more likely to have different, subtler symptoms for three or four weeks before a heart attack. Red flags include:
- New or dramatic fatigue.;For example, a;simple activity like making the bed makes you feel unusually tired.;You arent exerting yourself, but you feel deeply fatigued or have a heavy chest. You may;feel very tired, but cant sleep well. Or you are suddenly worn out after your normal exercise routine.
- Shortness of breath or sweating.;Watch for this especially when either symptom occurs without exertion and when either symptom is accompanied by a symptom such a chest pain or fatigue. Look for;either symptom worsening over time after exertion. Other signs are;shortness of breath that worsens when lying down and is relieved when you sit up and a;cold, clammy feeling that occurs without cause.
- Pain in the neck, back or jaw. This is especially of note;when there is no specific muscle or joint that aches or when the discomfort worsens when you are exerting yourself and stops when you stop. While men usually experience pain in the left arm, women can experience this;pain can be in either arm. Also, watch for;pain that starts in the chest and spreads to the back, pain that occurs suddenly and may wake you up at night and pain in the lower left side of the jaw.
Lower The Risk Factors You Can Control
The first step to lowering cardiovascular risk is to raise your awareness of the risk factors and symptoms that are particular to women. The next step is to take actions and practice daily behaviors that lower the risk factors you can control.
- Avoid smoking.
- Stick to a healthy, low-saturated-fat diet that is high in fiber and low in fatty, processed foods.
- Several times a week, follow a supervised exercise regimen that is both challenging and motivating:
- Benefits of regular exercise include lower blood pressure, lower risk of diabetes, healthier body weight, and stress reduction.
- Exercise at least 3 times per week for at least 30 minutes. Even better, build up to 4-6 times per week for 45 minutes or more.
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Heart Attack Warning Signs: Understanding The Differences
Heart attacks occur when blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle becomes severely reduced or completely cut off due to a buildup of fat, cholesterol or other plaque. Spotting a heart attack and getting treatment quickly is key to limiting heart damage.;
Knowing the signs of a heart attack and the differences in symptoms between men and women can save a life.
Typical signs of heart attack may include:
- Uncomfortable pressure, tightness or pain in the center of the chest, lasting longer than a few minutes
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness;
However, not all heart attacks begin with sudden, crushing chest pain. Heart attacks, especially in women, can surface more subtly. And its important to note that about one-third of the patients who have heart attacks experience no chest pain.;
According to interventional cardiologist;William Combs, MD, with LVH Cardiology1250 Cedar Crest and Director of Interventional Cardiology at Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute, the most common symptom of a heart attack for both men and women is chest pain or discomfort. However, women can experience heart attacks without pressure in their chest.
Signs of heart attack in a woman also may include:
- Sharp pain, sometimes in upper abdomen
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme fatigue;
- Back or jaw pain
Prevalence Of Cardiovascular Diseases In Aging And Elderly Adults
Arrhythmias are also found to increase with age and are reported to be one of the major risk factors for sudden cardiac death . Among elderly adults, aged 66 to 93 years old, persistent atrial fibrillation was reported in approximately 10% of the outpatient population above the age of 66 years . AF generated about 1.5% of strokes in adults aged 5059 years, and up to 23.5% of strokes in older adults aged 8089 years . According to the AHA, in those hospitalized for stroke from ages 65 to 84 years, females and males had approximately equal inpatient hospital stays, but, women 85 years accounted for nearly 66% of all stroke patients . With the number of incident strokes projected to increase twofold over the next 40 years , the geriatric population are likely to experience the bulk of these potentially fatal events .
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Gender Differences And Heart Disease
Men and women experience heart disease differently
When it comes to heart disease, not only are the symptoms sometimes different for men and women but the disease itself may also be different.
There’s an entertaining theory that men and women are from different planets. It’s a not-so entertaining fact that men and women experience heart disease differently. It’s not always clear why, but women are less likely to survive a heart attack than men. Women have a 50 percent greater chance of dying during heart surgery. And they’re more likely than their male counterparts to develop heart failure, a weakening of the heart muscle that can be incapacitating and ultimately fatal.
Heart disease kills 500,000 women every year 10 times more than breast cancer and more than all other cancers combined. It’s also a leading cause of disability. Eight million women are living with it. While women develop cardiovascular disease about 10 years later than men, it’s estimated that 1 in 10 American women 45 to 64 years of age has some form of heart disease, increasing to 1 in 4 women over the age of 65.;
Theories on why the disease may differ in women include the following:
Coronary microvascular disease is tough to diagnose. If you are experiencing symptoms that concern you, don’t ignore them. You need to continue a dialog with your doctor until you’re both satisfied.
As more is learned about coronary MVD, new protocols and tests are emerging.
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Treatments To Control And Prevent Cvd
Many medications are commonly used to both prevent CVD before it occurs and to prevent existing disease from getting worse.
- Statins: a family of cholesterol-lowering medications
- Aspirin: one baby aspirin per day is widely recommended for people with established coronary artery disease or those who have had a heart attack
- Blood pressure medications: several classes of blood pressure medications exist, including ACE inhibitors, diuretics, beta blockers, and calcium-channel blockers.
Other medications are used to treat specific types of CVD, such as atrial fibrillation and heart failure.
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American Heart Association News Stories
American Heart Association News covers heart disease, stroke and related health issues. Not all views expressed in American Heart Association News stories reflect the official position of the American Heart Association.
Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. Permission is granted, at no cost and without need for further request, for individuals, media outlets, and non-commercial education and awareness efforts to link to, quote, excerpt or reprint from these stories in any medium as long as no text is altered and proper attribution is made to American Heart Association News.
HEALTH CARE DISCLAIMER: This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. If you are in the United States and experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or call for emergency medical help immediately.
Most Clinical ‘calculators’ Over
Most risk calculators used by clinicians to gauge a patients chances of suffering a heart attack and guide treatment decisions appear to significantly overestimate the likelihood of a heart attack, according to results of a study by investigators at Johns Hopkins and other institutions.Physicians commonly use standardized risk assessment systems, or algorithms, to decide whether someone needs care with daily aspirin and cholesterol-lowering drugs or just watchful waiting and follow-up exams. These algorithms calculate heart attack probability using a combination of factors, such as gender, age, smoking history, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and diabetes, among others.
The new findings, reported Feb. 17 in Annals of Internal Medicine, suggest four out of five widely used clinical calculators considerably overrate risk, including the most recent one unveiled in 2013 by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology amid controversy about its predictive accuracy.
The results of the study, the research team says, underscore the perils of overreliance on standardized algorithms and highlight the importance of individualized risk assessment that includes additional variables, such as other medical conditions, family history of early heart disease, level of physical activity, and the presence and amount of calcium buildup in the hearts vessels.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Heart Disease
To lower your chances of getting heart disease, its important to do the following:7
- Know your;blood pressure.;Having uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to heart disease. High blood pressure has no symptoms, so its important to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Learn more about high blood pressure.
- Talk to your doctor or health care team about whether you should be tested for;diabetes. Having uncontrolled diabetes raises your risk of heart disease.8 Learn more about diabetes.
- Quit smoking. If you dont smoke, dont start. If you do smoke, learn ways to quit.
- Discuss checking your;blood cholesterol and triglycerides;with your doctor. Learn more about cholesterol.
- Make healthy food;choicesexternal icon. Having overweight or obesity raises your risk of heart disease. Learn more about overweight and obesity.
- Limit how much alcohol;you drink to one drink a day. Learn more about alcohol.
- Manage stress levels;by finding healthy ways to cope with stress. Learn more about coping with stress.
If You Think That You Know Someone Is Having A Heart Attack Or Stroke Call 911
Although your first reaction may be to drive a patient with symptoms of a heart attack or stroke to the hospital yourself, its best to call 911 first. Emergency medical services personnel are able to provide treatment on the way to the hospital and are trained to revive a person if he or she is experiencing heart failure. Their reaction time can help a patient up to an hour sooner than being driven to the hospital. Do not wait more than five minutes after noticing these symptoms to make the call.
Even if youre not sure if someone is experiencing a heart attack, its always best to take the necessary precautions. Minutes matter when it comes to a heart emergency, so it is important to act fast.
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Mobile Health Strategies For Veterans With Coronary Heart Disease
Antiplatelet medications have contributed to the decline of deaths related to coronary heart disease. Despite this, medication adherence in patients with coronary heart disease is closely linked to adverse clinical outcomes such as re-hospitalization and mortality. This ongoing study seeks to determine whether mobile health technology in the form of text messaging or a mobile application compared with a general education website control – will improve medication adherence among Veterans with coronary heart disease.
Focus groups are being used to assess preferences for content and frequency of text messaging to promote medication adherence. Made up of Veterans with a history of coronary heart disease, focus groups also will help investigators determine the most patient-centered mobile app to promote medication adherence. In addition, study participants will explore different apps related to medication adherence and will discuss any facilitators and/or barriers related to using mobile apps. A sample of non-Veteran female participants has been enrolled from one medical center to allow for a representative sample of both sexes.
Findings:Thus far, focus group feedback about medication adherence shows:
Focus group feedback about text messaging shows:
Gender Differences In Cardiovascular Disease: Women Are Less Likely To Be Prescribed Certain Heart Medications
- Andrew Oseran, MD, MBA, Contributor
Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of both women and men in the US. Despite the significant impact CVD has on women, awareness and education for womens heart disease has historically been low. A recent study, based on data from over two million patients, suggests that women were less likely to be prescribed aspirin, statins, and certain blood pressure medications compared to men.
CVD is a group of diseases involving the heart or blood vessels. It includes high blood pressure , coronary artery disease, heart attacks, heart failure, heart valve problems, and abnormal heart rhythms. CVD can look different in men and women, potentially requiring different approaches to diagnosis and treatment and leading to differences in outcomes.
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Gendered Innovation : Cardiovascular Health For Transgender Individuals
Many transgender individuals seek hormone therapy in order to bring their bodies more in line with their gender identities. Hormone therapy involves either estrogens or androgens. The hormones are given at a higher dosage than previously studied and may increase a patients cardiovascular risk.
Hormonal therapy changes the blood lipid profiles of the user in ways not fully predictable from studying cisgender individuals . Transwomen often take estrogens at levels associated with an increased risk of venous thromboembolism and a slightly increased risk of heart attacks . Including transgender individuals in clinical studies is important to allow for better risk prediction and care. This will also result in better understandings of high-dosage hormones on cardiovascular health in adults overall.
Women Dont Always Get The Proper Medications After A Heart Attack
After a heart attack, women are at greater risk of developing a blood clot that can cause another heart attack. For unknown reasons, they are not as likely to be given a drug to prevent such blood clots. This could explain why women are more likely than men to have a second heart attack within 12 months.
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The Prevalence Of Aging Adults Admitted To Critical Care
Risks associated with age present an inimitable difficulty with regards to medical treatment, especially with respect to critical and intensive care treatments. Given that the prevalence of health complications increases with advanced age, it is no surprise that the average age of patients admitted to the ICU is approximately 60 years . However, advanced age has been reported to be associated with increased mortality in ICU patients, even after controlling for preexisting morbidities . Thus, advanced age is a risk for mortality in ICU patients , regardless of treatment intensity . While age is an independent risk factor for mortality in ICU patients, the presence of health conditions and diseases are known to significantly augment the risk of mortality in these patients . Thus, a higher prevalence of CVD in elderly ICU patients has been reported, including higher rates of heart failure, arrhythmia, and valvular heart disease . High mortality rates due to CVD in critically ill patients have even resulted in the implementation of specialized health units for cardiac patients, referred to as coronary care units , or more recently, cardiovascular intensive care units .
Management And Treatment Of Cvd In Older Adults
Physical inactivity has been reported to be a major cause of chronic illnesses, such as CVD . Regarding the benefit of physical activity, walking has been reported to aid older men in the management of coronary heart disease . Additionally, regular walking activity may increase longevity by decreasing the risk of CVD and other age-related diseases . Additionally, exercise has been shown to be particularly beneficial to aging adults, by protecting against age-related adverse systemic and cellular effects of aging, and by reducing cellular senescence . Additionally, exercise is reported to improve endothelial function in older adults, but with certain differences in males and females . Specifically, endurance exercises are more consistently associated with improved endothelial function in males than in postmenopausal women, due to their lack of estrogen, and subsequently increased oxidative stress . Telemedicine and telemonitoring has also gained exposure for its potential to prevent and/or gauge risk factors associated with CVD . Studies show that self-management via mobile and telehealth technologies can improve outcomes in patients with hypertension, such as the use of mobile blood pressure monitoring . Unfortunately, elderly adults show low participation in these technologies .
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