It’s not uncommon to find middle-aged women facing a line of pesky health problems. With the growing rate of stress at work, home and the need to cope with patriarchal body or beauty standards, women don’t really have it the easy way.

The same goes for heart diseases in women which often go undiagnosed before too serious. Take the case of popular actress Sridevi, who was hale and hearty, but faced an untimely death that remains to be a mystery and attributed to cardiac arrest.

Globally one in four women die of heart failure. More than cancer, heart disease in women is more lethal, yet they are least likely to get timely diagnosis or treatment.

While in men the symptoms of heart attack are largely noticeable, symptoms of a heart attack in women are radically different and seem to be passed off. In this article, know all about the risks of heart disease in women and how you control your risk.

How Heart Diseases are Different in Men and Women?

While for men, a heart attack could mean a sudden and extreme chest pain, breathlessness or other more evident symptoms. For women, heart attacks often go unnoticed and can be much smaller and frequent. Only after they visit a cardiologist, do women realize that they have suffered a mild heart attack in the past.

Silent heart attacks are more common in women than men and women also do not tend to fare well with the common heart-related treatments of Stents or By-pass. This is because the structure of the arteries is different in women.

Yet, medical texts seem to overlook the differences. Research is only now slowly beginning to discover the biological, medical, and social bases of these differences. The hope is that gender-specific research will lead to advances in personalized prevention and treatment to women.

The Less Obvious Symptoms of Heart Disease in Women

The presentation of heart disease is a challenge in women. Most of the ideas and research about heart disease are majorly male-oriented with little or no research for women. Women and men have different physiologies and so the difference in symptoms. Here are some subtle signs of heart disease in women:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Unexplained pains and aches, especially in shoulders, arms, back, jaw or abdomen
  • Abnormal sweating
  • Lack of Sleep or Disturbed Sleep
  • Excessive Heartburn and nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Heart Palpitations

The Common Risk Factors of Heart Disease in Women

  1. Age Factor and Menopause

There are two age brackets under which women are most susceptible to heart problems. One is middle-aged women who are between 40 to 55 because of three main factors:

  • Usually, this is the age when menopause starts for women and their hormones are no longer protecting their heart. As estrogen levels dip, women tend to experience a lot of health hazards
  • High Stress to balance career and home as women face pressure when they reach on top of their career
  • Loneliness as kids start to get independent

Next, the second age bracket is above the age of 60, simply because of the effects of aging and deterioration of the body.

  1. Metabolic Syndrome

Obesity, large waist size, insulin resistance, and elevated blood pressure stem from metabolic deficiencies and increase your chance of developing heart diseases. Especially for young women, an important risk factor of having heart attacks can be attributed to metabolic disorders.

  1. Blood Lipids

Before menopause, estrogen helps to produce cholesterol and regulate the triglyceride levels. However, after menopause, women tend to produce more triglycerides and bad cholesterol levels with a lack of good cholesterol to mop up the bad ones. As a result, it leads to plaque deposits in the arteries and increases the risk of heart diseases.

  1. Smoking and Alcohol

Women who smoke are more likely to develop heart diseases just like male smokers. The same goes for excessive alcohol consumption as it leads to accumulation of toxins in the body.

  1. Diabetes

Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease in women more than it does in men. This is because women with diabetes more often have added risk factors, such as obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol.

How to Reduce the Risk For Heart Disease in Women?

Get Screened

Regular heart-health screenings like cholesterol, lipids, blood pressure, blood glucose, and body mass index need to be reviewed periodically. After knowing these vital numbers, then you can take the right steps to treat them with the correct lifestyle measures.

Toxin Cleanse

Arterial plaque builds as an accumulation of toxins since your body is unable to get rid of them effectively. Overexposure to environmental toxins and toxin build-up as a result of weakened digestion can be tackled by eating a liver-friendly diet and supporting the liver to detox naturally.

 In addition, Ayurveda recommends a program of internal cleansing with every change of season to help your body flush out the toxins, especially during menopause as your menstrual cycle hits the end.

Soothe Away Your Stress and Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle is a sure-shot way to reduce your risk factors of developing heart disease. Especially for women, who don’t look after themselves and overlook body signals, it is of utmost importance to take the time out and de-stress yourself. Exercising, doing yoga, meditation or engaging in a hobby is the best way to curb stress and stay healthy.

Eat Healthy

Eating a heart-healthy diet that is largely plant-based is of utmost importance. For women, consuming more antioxidants and a balanced diet with spices to stimulate sluggish digestion is recommended. For women who have hit menopause, consuming phytoestrogens like organic soy, oranges, carrots, broccoli, legumes, etc. is ideal since they can mimic estrogen compounds in your body.

Heart disease risk rises for everyone as they age, but the progression, diagnosis, and treatment of heart disease in women is different and should be based on the individual body composition. Understand the differences and risk factors to prevent your risk of developing heart diseases.

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