What Kind of Heart Diseases are Common in Women?
The kinds of heart diseases that are common in women are:
Coronary Microvascular Disease
Women are often victims of coronary microvascular disease.
This disease affects the arteries in your heart.A patient of coronary microvascular has damaged arteries, which makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body.
Women are more prone to getting coronary microvascular disease than men. Researchers believe that this is because of the drop in levels of estrogen that women experience during menopause. Moreover, there are other common risk factors that make women more prone to getting this heart disease.
Pioneer Medical Imaging is one of the only places that has the technology to diagnose Coronary Microvascular Disease in New Jersey in a non-invasive manner.
Coronary Heart Disease
Another common heart disease in women is the coronary heart disease.
It is the job of the arteries to carry oxygenated blood to your heart. If the arteries get obstructed, the heart does not get sufficient amount of blood.
In coronary heart disease, plaque gets built up in your coronary arteries’ inner walls. This condition is also known as atherosclerosis.
Plaque is made of substances that are found in your blood, like calcium, cholesterol, and fat. As time passes, that plaque can rupture or harden.
As the plaque keeps building, the arteries become narrower. That results in reduced flow of oxygenated blood to your heart.
This can cause you to have chest pains or angina.
The ruptured plaque can form a blood clot in your coronary arteries. That clot can block the blood flow to your heart completely, causing a heart attack.
Coronary heart disease can cause other problems for you as well, apart from a heart attack and angina. You can get arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats, and also suffer from a sudden cardiac arrest.
Broken Heart Syndrome
Another common heart disease in women is stress-induced cardiomyopathy or the broken heart syndrome.
It is found that women are more likely to get this heart condition than men.
This condition has been recently recognized.
In this condition, severe emotional stress can cause heart muscle failure. Broken heart syndrome is often short-term.
Because of the symptoms presented by this disease, it is often mistaken for a heart attack. Though in this condition, the arteries in your heart are not blocked. Most women who suffer from a broken heart syndrome bounce back quickly and have a full recovery.
What are the Risk Factors?
There are a number of risk factors that can increase your chances of getting a heart disease.
There are some that you can’t control, like:
- Having a preexisting heart condition
- Family history of heart disease
As you grow older, your chances of getting a heart disease increase as well. Same goes for family history; if you have a close family relative suffering from a heart condition, chances are you might have that same gene as well.
But there are some factors that you can control. Here are some of those factors:
- High cholesterol levels
- Being inactive
- Unhealthy diet
- High blood pressure
Women who smoke are twice more likely to get a heart disease than the ones who don’t. Smoking can cause a lot of damage to the arteries of your heart. Fatty materials get built up in the arteries and they get narrowed.
Narrowed arteries put pressure on the heart, leading to heart attack.
Tobacco smoke has carbon monoxide in it, which reduces oxygen from your blood. When that happens, your heart works overtime to provide oxygen to your body. The added pressure can damage your heart, leading to diseases.
Hypertension is more common in women as compared to men. And as you age, hypertension increases as well.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is known as the silent killer as it can cause heart failure or stroke.
Hypertension is given this name because it has no symptoms. Women suffering from it would not know about it until it’s too late.
Once diagnosed, it can be controlled with the help of medication, which reduces the risk of heart problems.
Other things that can reduce high blood pressure are:
- Losing weight
- Physical activity
- Reducing salt in your diet
- Keeping a healthy diet
- Not drinking excessively
- Increasing physical activity
Diabetes is common in women who are obese. These are two main factors in you getting a coronary heart disease.
Diabetes can go undiagnosed for a long time as the symptoms don’t develop quickly.
Women with diabetes are at a higher risk of getting a heart disease than men who are suffering from the same disease.
You are more likely to get diabetes if you are:
- Inactive physically
- Have a family member with this disease
What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms of coronary heart disease present differently in both men and women. Sometimes there are no symptoms of this disease; that condition is called silent coronary heart disease.
Silent coronary heart disease is nearly impossible to diagnose before there are symptoms of heart failure, heart attack, or arrhythmias.
One of the common symptoms of heart diseases is chest pain or angina. Angina occurs when your heart does not get sufficient amount of oxygenated blood.
In men, angina feels like squeezing or heavy pressure in the chest. This sensation often extends to their arms as well.
Women can have similar symptoms as well. Some women have reported having a burning and sharp pain in their chest. Pain in other areas of the body like back, abdomen, throat, jaw, and neck has also been reported.
Mental stress can work as a trigger for angina pain in women.
Women with coronary microvascular disease often experience angina pain during routine activities.
Other symptoms of coronary heart disease and coronary microvascular disease include:
The number one telltale sign of heart attack in both women and men is chest pains. However, half the time, women don’t feel that while having a heart attack.
The symptoms of heart attack in women are:
- Problems while breathing
- Extreme fatigue
- Neck or back pain
An arrhythmia is an issue with the heart rhythm or heart rate. If you have arrhythmias, your heartbeats can get irregular – either too slow or too fast.
Arrhythmias can also cause your heart to stop beating suddenly. This is known as a sudden cardiac arrest. If not treated immediately, it can cause death.
Another symptom of a coronary microvascular disease and coronary heart disease is heart failure. Heart failure is the condition where your heart can’t provide sufficient amount of blood to your body as it is unable to pump it because of the damage.
Symptoms of heart failure include swelling in abdomen, legs, ankles, feet, and veins in your neck.
Symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome
Broken heart syndrome can occur in anyone regardless of their medical history. The symptoms of this condition are shortness of breath and chest pains.
Women experiencing the broken heart syndrome can also have cardiogenic shock or arrhythmias.
How can Heart Diseases be Diagnosed?
There are several ways for your doctor to diagnose if you have coronary heart disease. Your doctor will perform several tests to see if you are suffering from this disease. These tests are:
Your heart’s electrical activity is detected by an electrocardiogram. It is a painless and simple test that will show the heart rhythm of your heart. With this test, the doctor can determine if your heart rhythm is irregular or steady.
Any signs of heart damage due to coronary heart disease will be revealed in this test.
A stress test is used to see how your heart reacts while you are exercising or doing some other physical activities. Cables are connected to your chest while you are exercising and the heart rhythms are recorded.
When you exercise, your heart rate increases and your blood needs extra oxygen. If your arteries are obstructed with plaque, the oxygenated blood will not get to your heart.
If you have symptoms like shortness of breath, abnormal changes in blood pressure or heart rate, or experiencing chest pains; it is likely that you may be suffering from coronary heart disease.
Commonly known as echo, sound waves are used by this test to create your heart’s moving picture. With the help of this test, the functions of your heart’s valves and chambers are determined. The information about the shape and size of your heart is also found out through echocardiography.
If your heart has poor blood flow in some areas, the echo will catch it.
A chest X-ray can provide a better picture of your lungs, heart, and blood vessels. Signs of heart failure are revealed from a chest X-ray.
A blood test can reveal the levels of proteins, sugar, cholesterol, and certain fats in your blood. If the levels of your blood tests are abnormal, it could be an indication of coronary heart disease.
Diagnosing Broken Heart Syndrome
There are several tests used to diagnose a broken heart syndrome. These tests are:
- Coronary angiography
- Blood tests
- Cardiac MRI
What are the Treatment Options?
There are a lot of treatment options available to women suffering from heart diseases nowadays. With proper care and treatment, you can live a long and happy life.
These treatments do need serious lifestyle changes. You need to be committed to fighting this disease.
These treatments are used to:
- Ease the symptoms of the disease
- Reduce the advancement
- Prevent further complications
- Lower the risk of formation of blood clots
Treatments available for women who have heart diseases are:
- Surgical procedures
- Cardiac rehabilitation
To battle heart problems, you need to go through serious lifestyle changes. These changes will lower your chances of having a serious complication.
These changes are:
- Quitsmoking – smoking can cause further damage to your already diseased heart.
- Following a healthy diet –add more vegetables and fruits to your diet. Eat low-fat products with plenty of protein.
- Salt is your enemy – Limit the amount of salt in your diet.
- Less sugary drinks – avoid drinking access sodas.
- Drink less alcohol
- Be active physically – exercising daily can be very beneficial for your heart.
- Maintain your weight – obesity is a leading factor towards heart diseases. Keeping a healthy diet and exercising regularly will keep your weight in check.
- Reduce stress and depression – they are your enemies.
Have you been experiencing these symptoms? Want to find out whether you are at risk of getting a heart disease?
We have the latest technologies and will make the correct diagnosis. Call us now at (201) 882-6088.