What Women Need to Know About Heart Health
Are you focused on your heart health? If not, you should be.
Despite its importance, heart disease doesn’t get as much attention as it should when it comes to women’s health. In fact, public consensus has latched onto some common misconceptions about heart disease and women that can lead to serious and even fatal consequences.
In an effort to set the record straight once and for all, we’ve rounded up some common myths in order to help you make more informed decisions and improve your heart health.
MYTH: Heart disease is a men’s disease.
FACT: Heart disease carries a stigma of primarily affecting men, but the truth is women are just as susceptible. In fact, heart disease and strokes cause one in three deaths in women every year, more than all cancers combined, according to the American Heart Association. For comparison, breast cancer accounts for one in 31 deaths in the U.S.
MYTH: No chest pain means it’s not a heart attack.
FACT: Though heart disease affects both men and women equally, the symptoms of a heart attack may differ across the sexes. For example, the most common symptom for men is pressure or tightness in the chest. Women, on the other hand, can experience a variety of other symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting and pain in the back or jaw.
Furthermore, sometimes these symptoms can arise without chest pain. With that in mind, don’t just assume it’s not a heart attack if there’s no chest pain — play it safe and seek medical attention.
MYTH: Heart disease doesn’t affect younger women.
FACT: Like other illnesses, many people assume heart disease is only a concern for older people. However, according to the CDC, one in 16 women over the age of 20 is affected with coronary heart disease, which is the most common form of heart disease.
MYTH: Being in shape makes you immune from heart disease.
FACT: While caring for your physical wellbeing is a great way to lower your risk for heart disease, it’s not a complete safeguard. Women who exercise may still be at high risk due to other conditions, such as high cholesterol, eating habits, smoking and family history. Continue your workout plan but schedule regular check-ups as well to mitigate all other factors.
MYTH: I don’t have any symptoms, so I’m fine.
FACT: Just because you don’t have any obvious signs of a cardiac condition doesn’t mean everything is fine. While nausea, vomiting and fatigue can be indicators, oftentimes heart disease is not diagnosed until a sudden event strikes, such as a heart attack or heart failure. Scheduling regular check-ups with your healthcare provider is very important.
Culbertson Memorial Hospital partners with Prairie Heart Institute to bring highly trained specialists to our patients and in addition we offer cardiac stress tests, echocardiograms, and cardiac rehab!
If you or a loved one wants to learn more about the cardiac providers and services available, contact your Culbertson provider.