Did You Know That This is the Number One Killer of Women? (No, It’s Not Cancer)

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By: Isabella Carson

Heart disease. It is the leading killer among women. It kills more women every year than all of the different kinds of cancers combined. That is a scary fact isn’t it? Every February the Go Red for Women campaign rolls around. People wear red to show support for those with heart disease or those whom we have lost along the way. Here are some things that every woman should know about heart disease:

1. Chest pain is different for every woman and can mean a variety of different things. Women are generally a decade older than men when heart disease kicks in which is why their mortality rate is higher. There are many different causes for chest pain and the severity can indicate different things.

2. Women with diabetes have a much higher chance of dying from angina than women who do not have diabetes.

3. Generally women exhibit signs of heart disease 10 or so years later in life than men do.

4. The symptoms that come along with heart disease are different in every woman. Some of the symptoms they may feel are nausea, angina, dizziness, weakness, shortness of breath, fatigue, paleness, and sweats.

5. Dissections of the heart and the arteries are more common in women than men, although they are still less common than other forms of heart disease. Scientists believe that this is because of the hormonal differences between men and women.

6. Women tend to shy away from follow up appointments after a diagnosis because they feel that the diagnosis is not correct. These follow ups are very important for their health and women should have an exam at least once per year.

7. Women tend to delay when they feel that they are having heart problems. They have been shown to be more hesitant to call 911 and end up making things worse as time goes on.

8. Atherosclerosis in women is different because the plaque in their arteries is more diffuse. This makes it difficult to diagnose with normal testing.

9. Even when women are displaying signs of heart disease they are twice as likely to be given a mental health diagnosis as opposed to men.

10. Symptoms differ between races. White women tend to feel chest pain while black women report stomach pain. The mortality rate for black women is almost twice that of white women.

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