Heart Diseases in Women: Myths and their Facts
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Heart Diseases in Women: Myths and their Facts

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Heart disease is the largest killer worldwide. Despite the fact, there is a lack of awareness among general people about it. The lack of proper information is a deterrent to addressing heart diseases in women. 

Although there has been increased awareness over the years, a lot more needs to be done on this count. A significant number of women are oblivious to the fact that they can be afflicted with heart disease. Fortunately, awareness about the causes of heart disease can help prevent it. Here are some of the myths with the facts to debunk them.

Heart disease predominantly affects men

Fact: Coronary artery disease kills more women than men. It is also unlikely that a woman will survive her first heart attack. Besides the high mortality rates, women also recover poorly than men. This myth arises because women rarely get treated for heart diseases. They are also less likely to get heart attack treatment and medical therapy than men.

Women need to worry more about breast cancer instead of heart disease

Fact: Surprisingly, heart disease kills more women annually than breast cancer. While 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, 1 in 3 suffer heart diseases. While it is crucial to screen for breast cancer, equal attention should be paid to heart disease screening.

Heart disease is common in older people

Fact: No one is safe from heart diseases. Younger women are also exposed to the risk of heart disease, primarily if they use birth control medication and smoke. Complications during pregnancy can also increase the chances of heart failure. Most people do not realize that they could be born with an underlying heart condition. These include atherosclerosis (arteries in the heart narrowing prematurely) or have passed-down familial disorders like hypercholesterolemia

It is easy to spot heart disease in women

Fact: Rarely do women feel pain in their chest during a heart attack. Most women rarely recognize heart disease symptoms making it very dangerous. According to the Women’s Heart Foundation, 2/3 of women who die from heart attacks have no chest pain history. Some symptoms of a heart attack in women, as noted by the American Heart Association, include shortness of breath, weakness, and lightheadedness.

Staying active prevents heart disease

Fact: Exercise reduces the risk of heart diseases in women, but it never makes them risk-free. Women who exercise regularly can suffer heart disease risks like high cholesterol, poor diet, high blood pressure, etc. Other factors include obesity, underlying conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, etc. Active women can prevent heart disease by consuming more heart-healthy foods.

Heart disease is familial, and you cannot do anything about it

Fact: Even though women born in families with heart disease are at risk, it is possible to lower the risk. The first step is taking action and keeping the heart healthy. This plan can be eating healthy, losing weight, exercising more, and going for checkups. Awareness about heart disease and steps for prevention is the key. 

Estrogen protects women from heart attacks

Fact: According to the American Heart Association, no proof shows estrogen prevents heart attack in women. However, losing natural estrogen may expose some women to a heart attack as they attain menopause. Unfortunately, even women in their prime with sufficient estrogen still suffer from heart diseases.

Most doctors understand the risk of heart disease in women

Fact: Until now, not many family physicians know the extent of heart disease in women and that it kills more women than men. Women are also likely to be misdiagnosed, thus leaving the issue unaddressed. The lack of treatment increases the risk of fatality. BLK Max Hospital has a team of cardiac specialists and the necessary infrastructure for the detection and treatment of heart attacks.

Women can easily communicate about their heart diseases

A survey showed that women with heart disease are less likely to communicate with their physicians about their early symptoms. On the other hand, around 8% of physicians took the initiative to diagnose the underlying problem. In addition, less than 30% consulted their physicians about heart diseases in the initial diagnosis. Women are also less likely to seek and get medical help immediately when they experience heart disease symptoms.

Heart disease risk factors in women

  • Menstruation ages before 10 and after 17
  • Women in menopause or after it are more likely to suffer heart disease. 
    • Pregnancy-related complications“
  • High blood pressure increases the chances of heart disease
  • Delivery before the term at around 37 weeks
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome increases the risk
  • Heart failure postpartum

Heart disease is unique in women and may manifest differently than in men. The two sexes experience different health issues, symptoms, and treatment regimens. Book An Appointment with BLK Max Hospital has specialists to identify and treat symptoms of heart disease in women. Understanding the risk factors may also help patients identify the signs and seek treatment. Women can choose a healthy lifestyle to address these concerns before it gets late.


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