Risk Factors and Challenges for Heart Disease in Women

Risk Factors and Challenges for Heart Disease in Women

  Category: Blog     Date: 19-06-2023  

Heart disease in women remains underdiagnosed and underestimated owing to the diagnostic challenge it poses. Also, people have the persistent perspective that heart disease principally affects men. The gender-specific risk factors have now been acknowledged; however, there is a dearth of clinical application, resulting in the misdiagnosis and ineffective management of heart disease in women. It is imperative to tackle gender-specific symptoms and risk factors to optimize management and effectively reduce ailment and fatality in women.

Commonly, cardiovascular disease (CVD) develops 7 to 10 years later in women compared to men. Still, it is the key cause of death in women. Usually, the risk of heart disease in women is undervalued due to the misunderstanding that women are safe against cardiovascular disease. The underrecognition of this disease and variations in clinical presentation in women result in less effective treatment strategies. Furthermore, it leads to a reduced representation of women in clinical tests.

Symptoms of heart attack in women:

Though some women may not experience any symptoms, others may have the following:

  • Angina (feeling of a dull or intense chest irritation or ache)

  • Pain in the neck, throat, jaw, upper abdomen, or back

  • Scarcity of breath with or without chest discomfort

  • Pain in one or both arms

  • Cold sweat

  • Heartburn (indigestion)

A few other heart attack symptoms in women include:

  • Vomiting/nausea

  • Persistent tiredness

  • Weakness (anxiety, dizziness, feeling light headedness)

  • Sleep disturbances

Note that women may perceive any of these symptoms while they are active or resting.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease in Women

High blood pressure (hypertension):

The major risk factor for heart disease in women is high blood pressure. Over 56 million women in the United States (44.3% of the population) have high blood pressure (130/80 mm Hg or more) or are taking blood pressure medicine. The high blood pressure condition elevates the risk of developing heart disease as well as stroke. Moreover, it can result in an early death.

Pregnant women who are diagnosed with high blood pressure have double the risk of developing heart disease in their later lives compared to pregnant women with normal blood pressure.

Certain lifestyle choices and other medical conditions can increase the risk of heart disease among women. These include:

  • High LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol

  • Diabetes

  • An unhealthy diet

  • Smoking

  • Excess weight

  • Drinking excessive alcohol

  • Physical inactivity

  • Stress and depression

  • Postmenopausal status

  • Hysterectomy and complications during pregnancy

It has been found that women who have gestational diabetes or preeclampsia are diagnosed with more than twice the risk of developing heart disease later in life.

Ways to decrease the risk of developing heart disease among women:

  1. Measure your blood pressure. Uncontrolled blood pressure can not just lead to heart disease but also other diseases like kidney failure, stroke, and dementia. Since high blood pressure has no symptoms, it is vital to regularly check your blood pressure and report the high blood pressure readings to a doctor

  2. Diabetes testing: Women who suspect that they may have heart disease can consult a healthcare team or doctor about whether they must be tested for diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes increases the odds of heart disease.

  3. Healthy diet: Making healthy food choices can reduce the risk of heart disease. On the other hand, obesity or being overweight can elevate this risk.

  4. Physical activity: Women must perform at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week to reduce the odds of developing heart disease.

  5. Quit smoking. Women who don’t smoke must not begin it. If they smoke, they must learn ways to quit. Moreover, they must consult a doctor about checking their triglycerides and cholesterol.

  6. Limit alcohol consumption: women must limit the amount of alcohol they drink per day. Pregnant women must not drink it.

You can find the best heart clinic near me that can accurately diagnose your heart disease symptoms and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Gender differences in the clinical diagnosis of heart disease:

The assessment of cardiovascular symptoms in women continues to be challenging owing to the anomalous nature of the presentation. The use of ‘typical’ angina symptoms in the evaluation of women may be inaccurate owing to the transposition of symptoms deduced from male cohorts. Although there are several challenges related to how to prevent heart attacks, treatment is possible.

The current research depicts that in women, chest pain symptoms are less differential in foreseeing obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) than in men.

In patients with established CVD, both men and women perceive chest pain. In such cases, women report potentially gender-related symptoms like sleep disturbances and fatigue. Hence, the presentation may make the diagnosis process confusing and also make it challenging to treat these symptoms. The Apollo Hospital in Patna can precisely diagnose gender-specific risk factors for heart disease and provide further advice on proper treatment.

At younger ages, women may have acute coronary syndromes (ACS) with angiographically ‘normal’ coronary arteries compared to men. The elementary mechanisms of this alleged coronary microvascular dysfunction are diverse. Moreover, they may be associated with low endogenous estrogen levels, endothelial reactivity, abnormal inflammatory reactions, and coagulation disease. In this context, the challenge is that its presentation can have considerable variance among women. Both young and old women can avail treatment from a reliable heart hospital in Patna to reduce the odds of a heart attack.

The transition to postmenopausal status is linked with an aggravating coronary heart disease (CHD) risk profile among women. It conveys the same level of cardiovascular risk as that in men. Women who perceived premature menopause had a 9% higher risk of atrial fibrillation and a 33% higher risk of heart failure compared to those who did not. This implies that seeking treatment for premature menopause can be an answer to how to avoid a heart attack.

Final Words:

The identification of heart disease risk factors and self-awareness in women requires more attention. This, along with accurately diagnosing gender-specific heart disease symptoms, can mitigate related challenges and better prevent the odds of heart disease among women.

Share This