Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in women and yet research studies suggest a gender gap exists when it comes to receiving care for heart attack that could be deadly to women. This is probably due to the commonly held misconception that heart disease is a man’s problem. National Wear Red Day is celebrated on the first of Friday of every February to close the apparent gender gap ensuring every woman gets the level of care she deserves.
According to experts, women are less likely to complain of severe chest pain which is one of the hallmarks of a heart attack, and more likely to experience other symptoms that could lead to a misdiagnosis and delayed care. Many women diagnosed with heart disease also report that they weren’t aware they were at high risk for developing the condition until it was too late.
The risk factors for heart disease in women include the following:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Alcohol and tobacco use
- Sedentary lifestyle
According to the American Heart Association, women should watch out for the following symptoms of a heart attack:
- Uncomfortable fullness, squeezing, pressure, or pain sensation in the center of chest that lasts for longer than a few minutes or occurs intermittently
- Discomfort or pain in the either arm, neck, jaw, back, or stomach
- Shortness of breath that may or may not be accompanied by chest discomfort
- Breaking out into a cold sweat (which is different from the hot flashes of menopause)
- Lightheadedness along with nausea or vomiting
Treatment for a heart attack works best when provided within the 1st hour of the onset of symptoms. Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you suspect any of your symptoms may be related to a heart attack.
About 80% of all cardiac events may be prevented. Here’s where the Go Red for Women initiative by the American Heart Association can have a positive impact on women’s heart health. GO RED is an acronym that stands for:
G: Get your blood pressure and cholesterol values checked.
O: Own your lifestyle. It’s up to you to eat healthy, be active, and stop smoking.
R: Realize your risk – 1 in 3 women die of heart disease.
E: Educate friends and family about the heart healthy lifestyle.
D: Don’t be silent. Empower every woman with the knowledge to win the battle against heart disease.
At North Central Surgical Center, our mission is to treat each and every one of our patients, and their families, as if they were our own family member. Each patient, each family, each and every time.