Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in both men and women. Statistics from the American Heart Association show that one woman every minute dies from heart disease in the U.S.
Women need to know that they often have heart disease symptoms that differ from men’s.
Women vs. Men
Women have smaller hearts and narrower blood vessels, so heart disease can progress differently than it does for men.
Women are more likely to have cholesterol build-up in the smallest blood vessels, while men typically develop plaque build-up in the largest arteries that supply blood to the heart.
The wider range of warning signs often leads to misdiagnoses or dismissal of women’s symptoms.
Common Symptoms for Men and Women
- Chest pain
- Pain or discomfort in the left arm, back, neck or jaw
- Shortness of breath
Additional Symptoms Commonly Experienced by Women
- Nausea or vomiting
- Cold sweat
- Sudden anxiety or panic attack
- Extreme fatigue
- Indigestion or heartburn
Know your symptoms:
Explain them to your doctor
- Describe how you feel; use descriptive words like dull, sharp, throbbing, or stabbing.
- Include the location of symptoms, and be as specific as possible.
- Mention the duration and explain how long you’ve had the symptoms.
- Note the frequency of symptoms, this can help the doctor determine the cause.
Education about symptoms and causes could save your life; high blood pressure and cholesterol are significant risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.