by Stewart B. Segal, MD WWW.GOREDFORWOMEN.ORG
Warning! Warning! Women pay attention to your heart!
“In 2004, the American Heart Association (AHA) faced a challenge. Cardiovascular disease claimed the lives of nearly 500,000 American women each year, yet women were not paying attention. In fact, many even dismissed it as an “older man’s disease.” To dispel the myths and raise awareness of heart disease as the number one killer of women, the American Heart Association created Go Red For Women – a passionate, emotional, social initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health.”
More women die from heart disease than of the next seven causes of death in women. Are you at risk of heart disease? If you are women, at any age, you are at risk. Do you know what the most common symptom of heart disease in women is? I bet you didn’t know it is fatigue! The second most common symptom is being excessively sleepy. Complaints of shortness of breath are third and the venerable chest pain comes in fourth. Chest pain is often described as pressure, achiness or tightness. It can be in your stomach, back, shoulder, arms or neck, as well.
Women with cardiovascular disease do worse than men do. The physical nature of heart disease in women is different than that seen in men. Because women with heart disease tend to have small vessel disease, it is harder to diagnose in them. The initial presentation of cardiovascular disease in women is angina; in men, it is heart attack. All of the above leads to late diagnosis and delayed treatment in women.
What should you do? Join Go Red For Women! Schedule your yearly physical. Learn the warning signs of heart disease in women and heed them. See your doctor if you are having any of the symptoms mentioned above. If you have any risk factors, such as a family history of heart disease, high cholesterol or high blood pressure or smoking, get them under control. Stop smoking! Exercise! Live a long and “Wellthy” life.