Women are dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD) more often then men and the reasons why may be surprising.
Though not always in obvious ways, many medical professionals discount women’s symptoms. This misdiagnosis is likely because most past research about CVD centered around men and because women’s symptoms are different than men.
One woman, Lilly Rocha, suffered a severe heart attack at the age of 37 after months of symptoms her doctor chalked up to stress from her job. She said, “…I knew nothing about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack or how women are often dismissed as being exhausted and hysterical when seeking medical help.”
Her boss recognized the symptoms, jaw pain, numbness in her left hand and chest pain, and took Lilly straight to an ER. Once there they told the staff she shared her symptoms and was told to wait. In the waiting room, she had a massive heart attack.
Statistics from the American Heart Association show that one woman dies every minute from CVD. One in three women are likely to have CVD while only 1 in 8 will get breast cancer in their lifespan, yet women are under-educated about the risks and symptoms.
Since 80% of heart attacks and strokes are preventable, it is essential to know how to reduce your risk.
Moderately exercise for 30 minutes a day
Consume a healthy diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, poly and monosaturated fats and fatty fish like salmon
Know your medical history
Get adequate sleep
And stay away from refined sugars, processed foods (if it is found in a box or has a shelf life leave it alone, and no Trans fats.
Monitor your blood pressure and talk to your doctor
New research is emerging which suggests women’s hearts are structured differently and may contribute to CVD. Additionally, menstrual history may play a role. If you have symptoms or concerns, find a doctor who will listen to you. Second opinions save lives.
To find out more, visit the American Heart Association.