How Heart Disease Differs for Women

How Heart Disease Differs for Women

Are you a woman who is concerned about heart disease? While commonly thought of as a man’s problem, it’s actually quite common in women as well — the symptoms just tend to look different, so you may not know what to expect.

At Indus Cardiology, with locations in Pomona, Montclair, and West Covina, California, heart specialist Yogesh Paliwal, MD, has extensive experience in providing cardiovascular care. You can learn more about how to reduce your risk, and what your best treatment options are if you need care.

Common risk factors for women

A woman with any of the following conditions (or a family history of them) may be at an increased risk for developing heart disease:

Diabetes

Because diabetes can alter the way you experience pain, it can increase your chance for what is called a “silent heart attack”: a heart attack with no prior symptoms.

Mental health

Mental health conditions like depression can have a negative effect on a woman’s heart. Because depression makes it difficult to keep active, this can also increase your chances of heart complications down the road.

Smoking

You’re probably already aware that smoking can increase the chance of developing lung cancer, but it can also heighten your risk of heart disease. This side effect manifests more in female smokers than in males.

Menopause

Because this “stage of life” can decrease your estrogen levels, it increases the chance of heart disease in small blood vessels.

Complications with pregnancy

High blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy can create conditions that make heart disease a possibility in the future.

Heart disease that runs in the family

Perhaps the strongest risk factor, a family history of heart disease, tends to affect women more than men.

Symptoms of heart attacks in women

One of the worst manifestations of heart disease is a heart attack, but women don’t tend to experience chest pain like men do. For women, common signs of heart attacks include shortness of breath, pain in the neck and shoulders, abdominal aches, tiredness, and sweating. 

These symptoms manifest more during periods of rest than during activity. Blockages in smaller arteries can be harder to detect than blockages in the main ones, but this can still put women at risk for heart attacks.

Learn more about heart disease in women

If you’re a woman with a family history of heart disease, or you want to learn more about decreasing your risk, schedule a cardiology consultation by calling the office most convenient to you today.

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