Most Americans have become increasingly aware of heart disease over the last decade. However, few realize that heart disease is the number one killer of women. In fact, 1 in every 5 female deaths in the United States is due to heart disease, according to the CDC. This silent killer affects women in different ways than men, so it can be difficult to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack. As a result, many women fail to seek the medical treatment that could save their lives.
Recognizing Heart Disease in Women
Some women have no symptoms of heart disease. However, others may experience dull pain in the chest, pain in the neck or jaw, and fatigue. These symptoms can get brushed off as indigestion or simply aging. In fact, many women don’t realize they have heart disease until they have a heart attack, arrhythmia, or heart failure.
Being overweight, having diabetes, and having high blood pressure can all raise your risk of developing heart disease. In addition, women with high LDL cholesterol, and smokers are also at high risk for developing heart disease. An estimated half of all women in the United States have at least one of these risk factors.
Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease
You can reduce the risk of getting heart disease by engaging in at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity. This equals 30 minutes a day, five days a week. For an even bigger improvement in your cardiovascular health, aim for more! If you can’t do 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week, then start slowly and don’t give up!
You can also reduce the risk of heart disease by quitting smoking, reducing your stress, and eating a heart-healthy diet.
When Heart Issues Strike
Unfortunately, genetics do play a large role in whether you get heart disease or not. If your doctor is concerned about your heart health, they may order a variety of different medical testing. Each test offers your medical team valuable information that can help them diagnose and treat a variety of heart issues. Here are just some of the cardiac testing your doctor may order: