February is National Heart Disease month and I want you to know the facts. Having the wrong information is just as bad as having no information. Heart Disease is no longer a “man’s disease”.
Please review these myths and facts – and share with your girlfriends! This valuable information may save one of their lives or even your own!
Myth #1: Women don’t get heart disease.
Truth: Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the United States accounting for 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year. This equals one woman dying from heart disease every 60 seconds! An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular disease.
Myth #2: Women are more at risk for breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer than they are from heart and vascular disease.
Truth: Worldwide, cardiovascular disease is the single most common cause of death among women. Nearly twice as many women in the United States die of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases as from all forms of cancer combined, including breast cancer.
Myth #3: Women are not at risk for heart attack until after menopause.
Truth: Heart disease is the third most common cause of death among women ages 25 to 44 years old. The first and second being dying from accidents and all forms of cancer respectively.
Myth #4: Taking estrogen 10 years after menopause protects women from heart attacks.
Truth: This time frame – 10 years- is a very important one. Recent studies have shown that taking estrogen at the onset of menopause or within 10 years of the onset of menopause is cardio-protective – meaning decreases the risk of heart disease. After 10 years this protection is lost.
Myth #5: Current research on heart disease applies equally to men and women.
Truth: According to SCAI, women only account for 20 to 25 percent of most heart disease clinical trials.
Myth #6: Men and women present with the same symptoms when experiencing a heart attack.
We usually think about chest pain and pain going down left arm and shoulder. In women, the signs for heart attack can be very vague and easily mistaken for panic attack or anxiety.
Heart Attack Signs in Women
Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away. Take an aspirin ( 325 mg. dose) unless you are allergic to aspirin or have been instructed by a physician not to take aspirin.
Myth # 7: Men and women receive the same treatment for heart disease.
If you are at risk of heart disease and stroke, show symptoms such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol talk to your healthcare provider immediately. Remember, when seeking medical advice from your healthcare provider, give accurate information, educate yourself & write down questions you have, & always be honest (your life could depend on it!).