Did you know that cardiovascular disease kills more women than all types of cancers combined? In fact, cardiovascular disease has been deemed the #1 cause of death in women. Unfortunately, however, many people are unaware of how serious this problem is. For this reason, the American Heart Association (AHA) has established February 7th as Wear Red for Women day as part of their Go Red for Women campaign.
Wear red day is intended to raise awareness about how heart disease affects women, as well as to advocate for more research and care focused on the correlation between the two. Because women experience heart disease differently than men, there needs to be more patient education, research, and specialized care in order to reduce the mortality rate. In fact, the American Heart Association notes that almost 80% of cardiac events can be prevented, showing that spreading awareness can help to reduce the prevalence of severe cardiac events in women.
Not only that, but the Go Red for Women campaign also highlights the scarcity of research focused on how heart disease is exhibited in women. This is because they found that less than half of any trial participants are women and that many studies do not pay attention to the biological differences between the sexes. Therefore, much of what we have been told about heart disease is actually centered around how it is exhibited in men.
However, there is definitely some overlap in the way that men and women experience heart disease. For example, a couple of common symptoms that occur in both men and women can include chest pain and shortness of breath. Additionally, however, women may also show signs that may not immediately be connected to heart disease, such as:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen, or back
In most cases, women with heart disease tend to experience symptoms while resting, but there are cases where symptoms may be brought on by emotional stress. Additionally, symptoms can affect women differently and not every symptom must be present to indicate the presence of heart disease. Any of these symptoms suggest that a visit to your local cardiologist is needed to determine whether or not they are caused by heart disease.
It is important to visit your cardiologist if you are at an increased risk of developing heart disease, especially if you are experiencing early symptoms. Some things that can indicate an increased risk for cardiovascular disease include:
- Pregnancy complications
- Family history of heart disease
- Unhealthy diet and/or stationary lifestyle
- High blood pressure
- Excessive alcohol intake
While women with these conditions may be at an elevated risk of developing cardiovascular disease, all women are potentially at risk. Therefore it is necessary to attend yearly physicals to monitor your blood pressure, as well as blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Overall, heart disease in women poses a serious potential threat to women everywhere, especially being the #1 cause of death in women. However, about 80% of cardiac events can be prevented, meaning that there is definitely hope for the future. In order to educate more women and advocate for women-centered heart disease research, the AHA urges people to wear red on February 7th.
Dr Amrendra Kumar is a highly skilled physician dedicated to providing gentle and effective care to patients of all ages and medical conditions. He achieved his degree in a field that he is passionate about. He believes that excellent health begins with education and has made his mission to enlighten patients to ways they can take greater control over their health. Dr Kumar is committed to continuing education activities and remaining aware of the latest advancements in Medical Science to maintain current high standards of care.