What Makes Yale Medicines Approach To Treating Womens Cardiovascular Disease Unique
Because heart disease is often thought of a mans disease, many peopleeven many doctorsdont recognize that women are just as much at risk.
That is not the case at Yale Medicine, says Dr. Freed. Weve worked very hard over the past 17 years to make it a priority that when a woman came into the emergency room with chest discomfort, that she gets equal and immediate treatment just as a man would.
Having a program dedicated solely to womens heart and vascular conditions has allowed physicians at Yale Medicine to become world-class experts in this field. We are experienced in diagnosing and treating even rare forms of heart disease in women and have access to the most cutting-edge tools to assist them in doing so.
The Yale New Haven Health Womens Heart and Vascular Program also engages in clinical research. This is especially important because historically, many of the large studies on heart disease have been done primarily on men.
Patients may have opportunities to try new treatments before theyre available elsewhere or be involved in clinical trials that may one day save other womens lives.
What Is A Heart Attack
To work properly, your heart needs a continuous supply of oxygen-rich blood. It normally receives this from blood vessels called coronary arteries. When a coronary artery suddenly becomes completely blocked, oxygen cant get to your heart muscle which causes a heart attack .
Heart attack is a medical emergency: without oxygen, the muscle begins to die and your heart can become permanently damaged.
Heart attacks can be fatal every day, 21 Australians die from heart attack. One patient is admitted to hospital due to heart attack every 9 minutes.
Does Something Change After 40 Years
Menopause is one of the leading causes of death in women over 40 as due to the hormonal imbalance there are many physical and mental symptoms that occur and not being able to control these health issues could increase risk of morbidity in women.
“For women above 40 years of age, the approach towards menopausal stage also elevates the risks. Certain additional health markers which are sadly neglected are high cholesterol, that increases the risk of heart attack in both men and women. Other medical conditions include obesity, and autoimmune disorders that are more likely to create a precedent for a heart attack,” says Dr Shah.
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When Should I See My Doctor
If calling triple zero does not work on your mobile, try calling 112. Early treatment could save a life.
See your doctor regularly to manage your general health, test for heart disease risk factors and help you take steps to prevent a heart attack.
How Can Women Prevent Heart Disease
Women have the power to take action and reduce their heart disease risk. Many risk factors are preventable or manageable with treatment. The top seven risk factors women can target for change include:
- High blood pressure.
- Having overweight or obesity.
Ideally, prevention starts in early childhood when habits begin to form. But adults in their 20s and 30s can make a huge difference in their health by paying attention to their heart health and working to reduce their risk. And its important to remember that change doesnt happen overnight. When it comes to eating a heart-healthy diet, remember these simple steps:
- Plan. Write down your dietary goals and get advice from your healthcare provider or a dietitian. Write down all the foods you want to eat more and those you want to eat less or eliminate.
- Pick. Choose recipes you like and map out your meals for the week. Make a list to take to the store to avoid impulse buying. If you prefer takeout, make your own personal menu of healthy options and only choose from those.
- Portion. Even healthier foods can become unhealthy in large quantities. Keep an eye on your portions and keep some leftovers for tomorrows lunch.
- Enjoy! Eating a heart-healthy diet can and should be enjoyable. If the recipes youre using arent tasty to you, find new ones. Ask friends for recommendations. And remember to treat yourself on weekends and holidays.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
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What You Can Do Now To Prevent An Early Heart Attack
Although some risk factors are beyond your control, there are many thingsyou can do to protect your heart health. It’s estimated that 80% of heartdisease, including heart attacks and strokes, can be prevented throughlifestyle changes, such as:
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese increases your heart disease risk. Get tips on how to watch your weight.
- Eating a heart-healthy diet: Avoid processed foods and excess sugar. Eat a diet rich in whole, nutritious foods .
- Exercising regularly: A consistent workout routine can boost your heart health. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week. Learn the kinds of exercise that can boost heart health.
Risk Factors You Cant Control
- Age: The risk of heart disease increases for men after age 45 and for women after age 55 .
- Family history of early heart disease: You have a higher risk if your father or a brother was diagnosed with coronary artery disease before 55 years of age or if your mother or a sister was diagnosed with coronary artery disease before 65 years of age.
- Infections from bacteria and viruses
Watch our video on how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, may affect your heart. Learn about how we support COVID-19 research.
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How Is A Heart Attack Diagnosed
To diagnose a heart attack, a doctor will ask you about your symptoms, your health, and your family health history. The doctor will also order tests.
Doctors often use these types of tests to diagnose a heart attack and choose the best treatment.
- Blood tests. During a heart attack, heart muscle cells die and burst open. This process releases proteins into your blood. Heart attack blood tests measure the amount of these protein “markers” of heart damage. Common heart attack blood tests include:
- Cardiac troponin . This is the most common blood test. This marker is released from the injured heart muscle. It is not found in the blood of healthy people. Troponin levels go up three to six hours after your heart attack starts, so the test may not find a heart attack right away.
- Creatine Kinase-MB . The CKMB test measures the amount of damage to the heart because of blocked blood flow. The test can tell whether treatments to restore blood flow to the heart are working. CKMB levels rise about four to six hours after a heart attack starts and peak 24 hours later.
- Myoglobin. This test helps diagnose a heart attack in the very early stages. After a heart attack, myoglobin levels rise within one to four hours but peak after 12 hours.
Causes And Risk Factors
Risk factors such as age, lifestyle habits, and other health conditions affect men and women differently.
- Women may get heart attacks at older ages than men do.
- Smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, high blood sugar, obesity, and stress raise the risk of a heart attack more in women than in men.
- Women are more likely than men to have heart attacks that are not caused by coronary artery disease. This can make it more difficult for healthcare providers to diagnose heart attacks in women.
- Women have more health problems after having a heart attack than men do.
Learn about how women can prevent heart disease.
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When To Call 911
If you suspect that you or someone else might be having a heart attack, call 911 or local emergency services right away. Immediate treatment can be lifesaving.
Long-term follow-up care is also important to improve outcomes.
Heart attack causes damage to your heart muscle, which can lead to potentially life threatening complications. Although more research is needed, some complications appear to be more common in women than men.
According to a 2016 review from the AHA, women are more likely than men to develop symptoms of heart failure following a heart attack. They also have a higher risk of death in the months and years following a heart attack.
The review found that 26 percent of women and 19 percent of men die within 1 year following a first heart attack, and 47 percent of women and 36 percent of men die within 5 years.
Some for these gender differences include:
- There may be a delay in recognizing womens symptoms.
- Women may be undertreated.
Heart Attack Warning Signs And Symptoms: Digestive Problems
Nausea or feeling sick on your stomach is a less common but possible symptom of a heart attack. Sometimes belching or burping can accompany nausea, and some patients have described a feeling like indigestion associated with a heart attack. Women are more likely than men to report these less typical symptoms of heart attack, and some patients have described feeling as though they are developing the flu.
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Never Ignore These 11 Heart Symptoms
If something went wrong with your heart, would you know it?
Not all heart problems come with clear warning signs. There is not always an alarming chest clutch followed by a fall to the floor like you see in movies. Some heart symptoms donât even happen in your chest, and itâs not always easy to tell whatâs going on.
If youre not sure, get it checked out, says Charles Chambers, MD, director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute.
Thatâs especially true if you are 60 or older, are overweight, or have diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, says Vincent Bufalino, MD, an American Heart Association spokesman. The more risk factors you have, he says, the more you should be concerned about anything that might be heart-related.
Especially watch out for these problems:
How Do I Know If I Am At Risk For A Heart Attack
A heart attack can happen to anyone, woman or man, young or old. Some people are more at risk because of certain health problems, family health history, age, and habits. These are called risk factors.
You can’t change some risk factors, like your age, race or ethnicity, or family history. The good news is that you can change or control many risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and unhealthy eating.
Learn more about controllable and uncontrollable risk factors for heart disease.
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When Do I Do If Someone Else Has A Heart Attack
An easy-to-use device called an AED is available in many public places and can be used by almost anyone to treat cardiac arrest. This device works by shocking the heart back into a normal rhythm.
Hereâs how to use an AED:
1. Check responsiveness
- For an adult or older child, shout and shake the person to confirm whether theyâre unconscious. Do not use AED on a conscious person.
- For an infant or young child, pinch their skin. Never shake a young child.
- Check breathing and pulse. If absent or uneven, prepare to use the AED as soon as possible.
2. Prepare to use AED
- Make sure the person is in a dry area and away from puddles or water.
- Check for body piercings or outline of an implanted medical device, such as a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator.
- AED pads must be placed at least 1 inch away from piercings or implanted devices.
3. Use AED
For newborns, infants, and children up to age 8, use a pediatric AED, if possible. If not, use an adult AED.
- Turn on the AED.
- Plug in connector, if necessary.
- Make sure no one is touching the person.
- Push the âAnalyzeâ button.
- If a shock is advised, check again to make sure no one is touching the person.
- Push the âShockâ button.
- Start or resume continue compressions.
- Follow AED prompts.
Symptoms Of Heart Disease
Women typically have symptoms of heart disease about 10 years later than men. For men, chest pain is a common symptom. In women, symptoms of a heart attack are more subtle and can include:
- Pain or aching in the chest and upper arms or back
- Unusually fast heartbeat
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Other Causes Of A Heart Attack
Not all heart attacks are caused by blockages from atherosclerosis. When other heart and blood vessel conditions cause a heart attack, it is called myocardial infarction in the absence of obstructive coronary artery disease . MINOCA is more common in women, younger people, and racial and ethnic minorities, including Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian people.
Conditions that can cause MINOCA have different effects on the heart.
Other conditions may cause symptoms similar to a heart attack. Your doctor will look at all of your test results to rule them out.
Recovering From A Heart Attack
The time it takes to recover from a heart attack will depend on the amount of damage to your heart muscle.
Most people can return to work after having a heart attack. Some people are well enough to return to work after 2 weeks. Other people may take several months to recover. How quickly you can go back to work depends on your health, the state of your heart and the type of work you do.
The recovery process aims to:
- reduce your risk of another heart attack through a combination of lifestyle changes , and medicines , which help to lower blood cholesterol levels
- gradually restore your physical fitness so you can resume normal activities
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You Feel Dizzy Or Lightheaded
A lot of things can make you lose your balance or feel faint for a moment. Maybe you didnât have enough to eat or drink, or you stood up too fast.
But if you suddenly feel unsteady and you also have chest discomfort or shortness of breath, call a doctor right away.
It could mean your blood pressure has dropped because your heart isnt able to pump the way it should, Bufalino says.
How Can You Prevent A Heart Attack
The most important thing a person can do to ward off a heart attack is to live a healthy lifestyle.
Here are five steps you should take to reduce the risk:
- Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to boost your heart health as smokers are twice as likely to die from a heart attack, compared to non-smokers.
- Take regular exercise .
- Eat a healthy diet which is high-fibre and low fat with at least five portions of fruit and veg a day.
- Limiting alcohol consumption can also reduce your heart attack risk.
- Lose weight if you are overweight or obese.
A heart heart attack is a life-threatening emergency… dial 999 immediately if you suspect someone is having one.
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When To Contact A Doctor
Its never too early to contact a doctor to discuss your risk of heart disease. In fact, the new primary prevention guidelines say that the earlier the risk factors for heart disease are prevented or treated, the less likely you are to develop heart disease later in life.
So, if youre concerned about your risk of heart disease, make an appointment to discuss how you can prevent this highly preventable condition. You can connect with a cardiologist in your area using the Healthline FindCare tool.
If youre having any symptoms at all, its very important to discuss these with your doctor, as heart disease can masquerade in many different ways.
Its easy to dismiss many warning signs of heart disease like fatigue, indigestion, and shortness of breath as just an ordinary part of life or mild illness. But because a heart attack can happen suddenly, its important not to ignore any potential warning signs.
If you have any of the above symptoms of heart disease, especially if you also have risk factors, contact a doctor.
- the presence of specific cholesterol markers
- other specialized lipid tests
Your doctor may order other tests, too. For example:
A doctor might also suggest a continuous EKG or ambulatory arrhythmia monitor, where you wear a device that constantly records your hearts electrical signals. Depending on your symptoms, you might wear this device for a few days or a few weeks.
Heart Disease Is The Leading Cause Of Death For Women In Australia And Globally
Heart disease includes any condition that affects the normal functioning of the heart, and includes coronary artery disease that causes heart attacks, arrhythmias, heart failure and heart valve problems.
It is too often perceived as a common illness among middle-aged men, but in fact, the risk of heart problems increases significantly once women reach menopause. In fact, there are some heart diseases, such as SCAD and FMD, which affect women more than they do men.
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What Causes A Heart Attack In Women
Heart attacks, both in men and women, occur when the blood flow to and from the heart is blocked, there is a deformity in the heart or when there is damage to the heart.
Traditional risk factors such as diabetes, cholesterol, weight, and blood pressure are the same for both men and women. However, the risk factors are much higher for women compared to men.
Here are some of the major risk factors for heart attack in women: