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Women’s Heart Failure Symptoms

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Can Surgery Be Used To Treat Heart Failure

Womens heart disease symptoms often overlooked, study shows

In heart failure, surgery may sometimes prevent further damage to the heart and improve the hearts function. Procedures used include:

  • Coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. The most common surgery for heart failure caused by coronary artery disease is . Although surgery is more risky for people with heart failure, new strategies before, during, and after surgery have reduced the risks and improved outcomes.
  • Heart valve surgery. Diseased heart valves can be treated both surgically and non-surgically .
  • Implantable left ventricular assist device . The LVAD is known as the bridge to transplantation for patients who havent responded to other treatments and are hospitalized with severe systolic heart failure. This device helps your heart pump blood throughout your body. It allows you to be mobile, sometimes returning home to await a heart transplant. It may also be used as destination therapy for long-term support in patients who are not eligible for transplant.
  • Heart transplant. A heart transplant is considered when heart failure is so severe that it doesnt respond to all other therapies, but the persons health is otherwise good.

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Heart Attacks Striking Younger Women

Younger women are having more heart attacks, says a recent study.Researchers were surprised to find that while the heart attack rate hasdecreased among older adults, it’s risen among those ages 35-54, especiallywomen. TheAtherosclerosis Risk in Communities studyreviewed more than 28,000 hospitalizations for heart attacks in fourcities.

“This observational study found a trend in young women,” saysVirginia Colliver, M.D., cardiologist withJohns Hopkins Community Physicians-Heart Carein Bethesda, Maryland. “But the research doesn’t provide insight into whythe uptick in heart attacks is happening to younger people. I suspect ithas to do with more people having risk factors for heart disease at anearlier age.”

What Women Can Do To Improve Heart Health

These four tips can help you protect your heart and improve your overall health:

  • Know your risk factors. You may be more likely to develop heart disease if you smoke, are overweight or obese, don’t exercise or eat a healthy diet, have a family history of heart disease, are post-menopausal, or have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.
  • Make time for physicals. Annual exams and blood tests give your doctor valuable information about your heart and risk factors. If you’re diagnosed with heart disease or have a condition that increases your heart disease risk, medication or lifestyle changes may help control your condition.
  • Be an advocate for yourself. Your doctor may not bring up your heart health unless you do doctors are less likely to address heart health with women than with men. Only 40% of women surveyed by the Women’s Heart Alliance had a heart health assessment during a routine physical. If you don’t mention your heart health, your doctor might not either.
  • Take steps to improve your health. Exercising more, following a healthy diet, losing weight and quitting smoking are simple ways to protect your heart. Lowering your stress level with exercise, hobbies, meditation or yoga may also reduce your heart disease risk.

Date Last Reviewed: July 9, 2021

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc.

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How Are Testing And Treatment For Heart Disease Different For Women

Tests and treatments can have different results for women vs. men. Below are a few examples:

  • Sometimes rather than having a big chunk of plaque , an artery contains a smooth layer of plaque. This happens more often in women than men. A coronary angiogram cant always catch this type of plaque. So even if women have symptoms and get tested, the results may come back fine. In this case, more tests are needed to identify the cause of the symptoms.
  • Women are more likely than men to be intolerant of ACE inhibitors.
  • Statins reduce cholesterol levels in both women and men. But women may be more likely to develop side effects.

Its important to talk with your provider about your own risks, symptoms, test results, and responses to medication. Sex-based differences are sometimes less important than individual differences due to our unique medical histories and social environments.

The Effects Of Menopause On Cvd Risk

Heart attack symptoms women should not ignore (infographic)  Welcome ...

Transition to postmenopausal status is associated with a worsening coronary heart disease risk profile in women, conveying the same degree of cardiovascular risk as being male. The effects of the menopause include an increase in body weight, alteration in fat distribution, centripetal obesity and visceral fat deposition, with an associated increase in other CVD risk factors such as diabetes mellitus. In particular, diabetes is a potent risk factor in women. A meta-analysis of 37 studies and almost 450,000 patients revealed a 50 % greater relative risk of fatal CHD compared to men with the disease. This substantial gender difference in mortality is associated with a more adverse risk factor profile, smaller coronary vessel diameter and often suboptimal management of diabetes in women.

As oestrogen production wanes in ageing women, systolic blood pressure tends to increase and is modulated by the increase in plasma-renin activity. In women > 75, isolated systolic hypertension is 14 % more prevalent than in men and causes significant morbidity due to left ventricular hypertrophy, diastolic heart failure and cerebrovascular disease.

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Do Women Experience Different Heart Attack Symptoms

It is important to remember that everyone experiences different heart attack symptoms. The symptoms of a subsequent heart attack may be different from the first.

Women are more likely than men to experience heart attack symptoms without chest discomfort. If they do have tightness, pressure or discomfort in the chest, this discomfort may not always be severe or even the most noticeable symptom.

Sometimes a person can have no heart attack symptoms at all. In these cases the heart attack isn’t diagnosed until it is picked up by a clinician at a later date. This is sometimes called a silent heart attack.

What Is The Outlook With Heart Failure

With the right care, congestive heart failure wont stop you from doing the things you enjoy. Your prognosis, or outlook for the future, will depend on:

  • How well your heart muscle is working.
  • How well you respond to your treatment plan.
  • How well you follow your treatment plan.

One study says that people with heart failure have a life span 10 years shorter than those who dont have heart failure. Another study showed that the survival rates of people with chronic heart failure were 80% to 90% for one year, but that dropped to 50% to 60% for year five and down to 30% for 10 years.

A different study found that people who had heart failure and were discharged from the hospital had expected life spans ranging from three to 20 years, depending on various factors like age and gender. Its important to look at your specific situation when considering your prognosis.

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How Is Cardiovascular Disease In Women Diagnosed

Women who are concerned about their heart health can schedule a visit to Yale New Haven Health Womens Heart & Vascular Program. At their first appointment, they will fill out a questionnaire and have a discussion with their doctor about their medical history, their diet and exercise habits, and any symptoms they may be experiencing

We want them to know that theyre being listened tothat they tell us their symptoms and we take them seriously, Dr. Freed says. The goal, she says, is to give women a diagnosis as soon as possible. Either they end up finding that their cardiovascular health is good, she says, or we find risk factors that need to be managed, or we find coronary artery disease, or an arrhythmia that needs to be treated.

Doctors also check patients blood pressure and their cholesterol and blood glucose levels . Because abnormal levels are such important risk factors for heart disease, it is important for patients to know what these test results mean.

We try to empower women to take control of their health and to know what their numbers are so that they can be treated more effectively,” says Dr. Freed.

If a doctor suspects heart disease, he or she will order tests that may include:

Early Symptoms Of Heart Failure

Symptoms of Heart Failure

A person with early heart failure might not have any noticeable signs. When early symptoms occur, they can be subtle and easy to miss or ignore. Early signs of heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath, at first when youre active and later even when youre sitting or lying down
  • Lowered ability to exercise or be active
  • Confusion or forgetfulness
  • Frequent fatigue, sleepiness or weakness
  • Palpitations, or a fluttering feeling in your chest, as the heart pumps harder and faster

Without treatment, heart failure can worsen over time. Symptoms that were once mild can become increasingly more severe, and may prevent you from doing everyday tasks.

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Types Of Heart Failure

Women are more likely than men to develop diastolic heart failure, which results from a stiffened heart muscle . Diastolic heart failure occurs because the heart is unable to relax properly between beats . The stiff heart cannot fill with enough blood to pump throughout your body . The other type of heart failure, systolic heart failure, occurs more frequently in men.Systolic heart failure occurs when the weakened heart muscle cannot contract forcefully enough for proper blood flow .

  • Women are more likely than men to develop diastolic heart failure, which results from a stiffened heart muscle .
  • Systolic heart failure occurs when the weakened heart muscle cannot contract forcefully enough for proper blood flow .

Symptoms Of Heart Failure

Heart failure usually develops gradually, so its signs are much less dramatic than those of heart attack, and it may go unidentified and untreated until it reaches an advanced stage. The most common symptoms often confused with the flu or other conditions include these:

Fatigue. Muscles that don’t get enough oxygen tire easily. People with early heart failure may notice that they’re less able to exercise. As the condition progresses, even simple tasks like doing dishes or getting dressed may be exhausting.

Edema. As the heart’s pumping ability declines, lymph fluid seeps from vessels laden with backed-up blood and accumulates in the lungs and other body tissues. The effects are most noticeable in the feet and ankles, where blood pools because the heart can no longer overcome the pull of gravity. The abdomen may also become distended with fluid. These symptoms are so common in heart failure that it was once known as “congestive heart failure.” That term isn’t used much any more because physicians recognize that heart failure may occur without lung congestion and swelling.

Shortness of breath. As fluid builds up in the lungs, it becomes harder to breathe, especially while lying down.

Persistent cough. Again, fluid in the lungs is responsible. The cough is likely to be worse when lying down and may produce frothy, blood-tinged mucus.

Rapid heart rate. Heart palpitations may occur as the heart pumps faster in an effort to compensate for its weakened contractions.

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Why Heart Disease In Women Is So Often Missed Or Dismissed

New research shows that women may not realize their symptoms point to heart trouble, and that medical providers arent picking up on it either.

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in America, killing nearly 700,000 people a year. But studies have long shown that women are more likely than men to dismiss the warning signs of a heart attack, sometimes waiting hours or longer to call 911 or go to a hospital.

Now researchers are trying to figure out why. They have found that women often hesitate to get help because they tend to have more subtle heart attack symptoms than men but even when they do go to the hospital, health care providers are more likely to downplay their symptoms or delay treating them. Health authorities say that heart disease in women remains widely underdiagnosed and under treated, and that these factors contribute to worse outcomes among women and heightened rates of death from the disease.

How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Heart Disease

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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 choices. 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.

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What Is Heart Disease

Heart disease is a general term that includes many types of heart problems. It’s also called cardiovascular disease, which means heart and blood vessel disease.

Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease in both men and women. It happens slowly over time when a sticky substance called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply your heart muscle with blood. The plaque narrows or blocks blood flow to the heart muscle and can lead to:

  • Angina – chest pain from lack of blood flow
  • Heart attacks – when part of the heart muscle dies from loss of blood flow
  • Heart failure – when your heart can’t pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs
  • Arrhythmia – a problem with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat

The Benefits Of Tracking

When youre aware of the changes, you are more likely to take action and make the small changes in your lifestyle and treatment plan that can help you live your longest and healthiest life.

Explore resources on our website and visit the Support Network to connect with others living with heart failure.

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Heart Attacks In Women

At least two Kiwi women die from a heart attack everyday. Do you know the risks and the warning signs? And are women’s heart attack symptoms different to those experienced by men?

Heart attacks are often perceived to be a man’s problem, but currently more than 900 Kiwi women die from one each year. That’s more than two Kiwi women a day losing their life to a heart attack. Heart disease more generally remains the single biggest killer of New Zealand women. There are currently more than 65,000 New Zealand women living with heart disease.

How Is Congestive Heart Failure Diagnosed

Knowing the warning signs of heart disease in women

Diagnosis of congestive heart failure is achieved through a comprehensive assessment of the heart muscle, including evaluation of its pumping action and thickness of its walls. This testing also helps to determine the underlying cause of heart failure. Diagnostic tests for congestive heart failure may include:

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What Are The Risk Factors For Heart Disease

High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. About half of all people in the United States have at least one of these three risk factors.6

Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including

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.

Medical emergency

  • 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.

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