Heart attacks are the number one cause of death in both women and men, but symptoms of this killer are not gender neutral. The symptoms displayed by women are markedly different than those displayed by men, so it is necessary that women understand and recognize their warning signs.
Chicago Healers Practitioner Dr. Martha Howard, MD offers women the female-specific warning signs and prevention tips.
- Signs that a heart attack is impending may show in women up to a month prior to the actual heart attack.These symptoms include unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances, shortness of breath, indigestion and anxiety. Women displaying these symptoms should not hesitate to contact a doctor.
- While many men experience chest pains as the primary symptom that a heart attack is in progress, the same is not true in women. More than 50 percent of women in a National Institute of Health study reported shortness of breath and weakness as symptoms of an occurring heart attack; other symptoms included fatigue, cold sweats, and dizziness.
- A high CRP (C-reactive protein) level is a risk factor considerably more prevalent in women and is a sign of blood vessel inflammation. This inflammation is a major risk factor causing coronary artery plaques to break down or rupture, so have CRP levels checked if you are in a risk group. Maintaining good oral health is a solid preventative measure since chronic dental infection is one of the causes of cardiac inflammation.
- Women who experience pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes during pregnancy are thought to be at a higher risk of early heart disease and should begin to take an active role in reducing controllable risk factors.
Cardiovascular disease can be deadly, but understanding risk factors can play a large role in prevention. If warning signs or symptoms of a heart attack are detected, it is imperative to receive immediate medical attention.