By Gabe Sanders Ph.D., NSCA-CSCS
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States of America, regardless if you are a male or female. While most people in the general population understand, men are at greater risk even at an earlier age than women, what many people do not know is that women often overlook their risk for heart disease and ignore the signs and symptoms.
Heart disease accounts for nearly one out of every five deaths in women and is the leading cause of death in African American and white women, not just men, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Obesity and CVD
As overweight and obesity continue to increase in society, there is an increased risk for younger women to develop heart disease as well. In fact, it is estimated that one in 16 white (6.1%), black (6.5%), and Hispanic women (6%) have heart disease.
This is largely due to poor diet, lack of physical activity, and exercise in our high technology and fast-paced society. More specifically, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the greatest risk factors for women in today’s society.
Top risk factors
Risk factors for women are no different than risk factors for men, with the exception of menopause and pregnancy complications.
Top risk factors for cardiovascular disease in women include
- sedentary lifestyle
- emotional distress
- inflammatory diseases
Typically, if you have one or more risk factors and are over the age of 50, you should be cautious of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, just to be safe.
Non-traditional signs of a heart attack include
- jaw and should pain
- unusual fatigue and sweating
- frequent lightheadedness
If you can place yourself in one or more risk factors, be sure to check with your physician if any signs or symptoms appear, especially during normal daily activity.
Pons, Ariel, et al. “Predictors of quality of life after revascularization for ischemic heart disease: a systematic review.” Health Sciences Review (2022): 100017.
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