Do you know what causes heart disease in women? What about the survival rate? The fact is: Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute! But it doesn’t affect all women alike, and the warning signs for women aren’t the same in men. What’s more these facts only begin to scratch the surface. There are several misconceptions about heart disease in women, and they could be putting you at risk. The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health for this very reason.
Silent Heart Attack – Symptoms, Risks: A heart attack does not always have obvious symptoms, such as pain in your chest, shortness of breath and cold sweats. In fact, a heart attack can actually happen without a person knowing it. It is called a silent heart attack, or medically referred to as silent ischemia (lack of oxygen) to the heart muscle. Just like the name implies, a silent heart attack is a heart attack that has either no symptoms or minimal symptoms or unrecognized symptoms. Some patients complaining of fatigue and problems related to heart disease discovers through an MRI or EKG that they have actually suffered a heart attack weeks or months ago, without ever realizing it.
People who have these silent heart attacks are more likely to have non-specific and subtle symptoms, such as indigestion or a case of the flu, or they may think that they strained a muscle in their chest or their upper back. It also may not be discomfort in the chest, it may be in the jaw or the upper back or arms. Those are some of the less specific symptoms for a heart attack, but ones that people may ignore or attribute to something else.
Causes of a silent heart attack in women: A silent heart attack happens when the flow of blood is blocked in the coronary arteries by a build-up of plaque. Studies suggest that silent heart attacks are more common in women than in men. Women and their physicians may also be more likely to chalk up symptoms of a silent heart attack to anxiety and dismiss them.
What to do during a silent heart attack: The “silent” in a silent heart attack is the complicating factor—often, women don’t realize they’re experiencing a medical emergency. If you do notice symptoms of a silent heart attack, try to stay calm and call 911 immediately.
How can I prevent it?
Many things can put you at risk for these problems – some you can control, and others that you can’t. But the key takeaway is that with the right information, education and care, heart disease in women can be treated, prevented and even ended. Here are a few lifestyle changes you should make: Don’t smoke, manage your blood sugar, get your blood pressure under control, lower your cholesterol, know your family history, stay active, lose weight and eat healthy.
It’s time to Go Red – There’s much more work to be done before heart disease becomes a thing of the past. But together, we can do it. Women who Go Red are helping uncover the truth about heart disease and have made incredible improvements in their heart health. Are you ready to join us? Let’s all Go Red on Friday, February 3rd.
For further information and how you can get involved visit: https://www.goredforwomen.org/
Macy’s is very involved and is committed to raising women’s awareness of heart disease and helping them live longer, healthier lives. Thanks to the generosity of customers and associates, Macy’s has contributed more than $60 million to Go Red For Women since 2004. For more information, visit macys.com/GoRed