I’m not sure how many blogs we’ve written on this exact subject – women and heart disease, particularly the failure of society to understand that this is NOT a man’s disease but a woman’s disease – but we’ve written A LOT. Here at EraseDisease.com, where we are incredibly passionate about heart health and heart disease prevention, we are not only bothered by the stats showing just how fatal heart disease is for women, but the stats showing just how limited society’s knowledge is about how heart disease affects women.
I came across an interesting article from Healthline.com this morning on this exact subject, and thought it was worth noting….
Heart disease is the top killer of women in the United States, killing even more women than men.
But when researchers asked women to name the most common cause of death for women, many said breast cancer.
The article goes on to chronicle a woman who was training, ironically, for the Susan G. Komen run when she couldn’t get past the pain in her legs. Fortunately, her family physician knew the signs and symptoms of peripheral artery disease (problems with blood flow that can lead to heart disease), and treated the problem with surgery and stints to improve blood flow.
Culturally, we’ve been taught to think of heart disease as a man’s problem. But the consequences of those misperceptions are deadly.
Since 1984, death rates from heart disease have been higher among women than men.
The problem is not all societal, but can many times lie within the education of the physicians. Heart disease, and the many precursors to heart disease, all too often go undiagnosed or are left untreated for far too long, increasing the risk of death for women. Women are less likely to receive medications for PAD and heart related conditions, and are less likely to be referred to a specialist, ordered an ECG, or sent to bypass surgery.
“When women are coming in with heart attacks often times they’re missed, there’s a delay in diagnosis. People think a 40-year-old woman is not supposed to have a heart attack,” said Dr. Abha Khandelwal, a cardiologist at the Stanford Women’s Heart Health Clinic.
Symptoms for Women
A main concern for many in the cardiovascular industry is the difference in symptoms between men and women and how those symptoms play out in a physician’s office. Many times, heart disease for a woman might include nausea, fatigue, tingling in the jaw and/or shortness of breath. But these symptoms are also clues to many other diagnosis that have nothing to do with PAD or heart disease, and thus those are the last places physicians think to look.
I found this quote amazing from the Healthline article:
“Historically we sort of labeled it as a man’s disease,” said Parikh. “Back in the ‘Mad Men’ days, public health pamphlets geared toward women would be like ‘Here’s how you can help take care of your husband’s heart disease,’ when in fact heart disease is and was also the number one cause of death in women.”
What Can You Do?
Your greatest health advocate is yourself! Be proactive when it comes to your health! Take control of your situation and tell your physician what you’re thinking. American Heart Month is the perfect time of year to bring up these concerns with your family doctor. This is your excuse to take some time for yourself, make an appointment, and have a serious discussion with your physician about heart disease and your risk.
Know your risk factors, as these are surprisingly similar to the heart disease risk factors for men: They include a family history of heart disease, excess weight, poor diet, high LDL or “bad” cholesterol, diabetes, and lack of exercise.
There are additional options to potentially prevent heart disease and improve your cardiovascular health. Here at EraseDisease.com, we sell a product called Cardio Juvenate Plus. It’s a supplement drink that includes L-arginine, L-carnitine, and L-citrulline – all elements that have been clinically shown to impact the cardiovascular system in a positive way. I invite you to read some of our client testimonials to see if Cardio Juvenate can help you get on the path to a healthier heart.