Women's Heart Care
Women of all ages should be aware of the threat heart disease poses. You, like other women, may not know the risk factors or your chances of developing the disease. But Allegiance Health is here to help, empowering you to control your risk for heart disease, buy:
- Increasing your awareness of heart disease
- Helping you recognize your own risk factors
- Encouraging you to seek prompt medical care as appropriate
Risk factors you should know
A single risk factor increases your chances of developing or worsening heart-related problems. The more risk factors you have, the more at risk you are for a heart attack. Some risk factors are:
- Cigarette smoking
- Family history of heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- High-risk age or race
- Lack of physical activity
- Poor nutrition
- Post menopause
What you can do
Prevention is the key to your fight against heart disease. You have the power to avoid limit risk factors and make choices that can lead to greater health and well being. Take these preventative steps:
- Determine your risk factors (see above).
- Ask your doctor or health care provider the Eight Critical Questions (below).
- Study lifestyle changes that can help reduce your risk.
- Learn the signs and symptoms of a heart attack (below).
- Call 911 if you think you are having a heart attack. Drugs and other treatments will be most effective within the first hour.
Start by asking your doctor eight critical questions
- What are my risk factors for heart disease, and what can I do to lower my risk?
- What are my blood pressure, cholesterol, and body mass index and are those numbers considered healthy?
- What should I know about the effects of menopause on my health?
- What is the best way for me to quit smoking?
- Are my risk factors for heart disease the same or different for stroke, and what are the symptoms of stroke?
- What are the warning signs or symptoms of heart disease or a heart attack?
- If I experience symptoms of a heart attack, what should I do?
- What is the latest on low-dose aspirin for heart attack prevention and treatment?
Signs and symptoms of a heart attack
Heart disease is not just a man’s disease. It is the number one killer of women and is often unrecognized as such. It is important to know the unique symptoms women can face:
- Pain, squeezing, fullness, or pressure in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and returns
- Pain that moves to the shoulders, neck or arms
- Chest discomfort accompanied by lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, fatigue, nausea, or shortness of breath. (Fatigue, nausea, and shortness of breath are especially common in women.)
Some less-common symptoms are:
- Unusual chest, stomach, or abdominal pain
- Nausea or dizziness (without chest pain)
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing without chest pain
- Anxiety, weakness or fatigue for no apparent reason
- Heart palpitations, breaking out in a cold sweat or paleness
Signs and symptoms of a stroke
If you or a loved one experience any of the following symptoms, get medical attention immediately:
- Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arms or legs, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, difficulty speaking or comprehension problems.
- Sudden vision problems in one or both eyes.
- Sudden dizziness, difficulty walking, or loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.