Heart disease is commonly misrepresented as only a man’s disease. But over the last few years, more understanding has been gained about women and heart disease. In fact, statistics show that women die from heart disease at the same rate as men each year.
However, because it has been traditionally considered a disease which mostly affects men, many women aren’t aware of the danger of heart disease for their own health – heart disease is the number one cause of death in women.
Heart disease in women often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because of a lack of awareness and because heart disease symptoms in women often look different from heart disease symptoms in men. Sometimes, these symptoms are more difficult to detect.
Heart Disease Symptoms in Women
Some of the heart disease symptoms commonly seen in women are:
- A burning feeling in the chest
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Neck or jaw pain
- Back pain
While these are important symptoms for women to be aware of, it is also important to know that sometimes women experience no symptoms from heart disease.
Heart disease is often misdiagnosed
Because heart disease sometimes presents no symptoms at all, women often don’t know they have heart disease until they experience something serious like a heart attack or stroke.
Sometimes symptoms which could point to heart disease are misdiagnosed. Often, symptoms like chest discomfort or heart palpitations are falsely attributed to another problem like stress or anxiety. This is why it is important to be honest about your symptoms with your doctor and discuss all of the possible explanations for your symptoms.
Some other health problems can put a woman at higher risk of developing heart disease. It is important to know your risk levels so that you can stay on top of monitoring your heart health and be proactive about any new symptoms or concerns.
If you already experience any of these health problems, you may be at a higher risk for heart disease:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Excess alcohol use
Talk to your doctor about what steps you can take to decrease your chance of developing heart disease, and make sure you closely monitor your health and report any new or unusual symptoms to your doctor.