The modern hectic lifestyle is taking a toll on the health of everyone, especially women. Many women while balancing their home and work lives, unknowingly lead a stressful and hectic life. Stress is the main reason behind several heart diseases. Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease is the term used by cardiologists or heart specialists for several abnormal heart and blood vessel conditions such as coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, arrhythmia, valvular heart disease, and congestive heart failure. Heart diseases generally develop over time. Though many times a person can be born with congenital heart disease; which means having abnormal formations of the heart developed before birth.
Risk factors in Women for heart disease
A common perception of heart diseases is that it mostly affects men. However several studies have shown that heart disease is a major health issue for women too. Though some heart diseases are congenital, a result of anatomical abnormalities of the heart. Some genetic factors can also be a cause of heart disease. However, most heart diseases are a result of lifestyle choices and conditions. Hectic lifestyle and stress are the main reason behind heart disease, as they put women at a higher risk of developing a heart condition. There are several risk factors apart from these which cause heart diseases in women. The common risk factors for heart diseases in women include:
- High blood pressure or hypertension
- High LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol
- Obesity or overweight
- Unhealthy diet
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Chronic stress
- Family history of heart diseases
- Inflammatory diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
- Premature menopause
Symptoms of heart disease in women
As per the heart specialist or cardiologist, the common symptoms of heart disease are the same for men and women like:
- Angina- sharp or dull and heavy chest pain
- Discomfort in chest
- Pain in jaw, throat, or neck
- Pain in the back or upper abdomen
However, women may also have other heart disease symptoms too such as:
- Weight gain
- Swelling in feet, legs, or ankles
- Sleeping problems
- Heart palpitations
The heart disease symptoms vary as per the specific heart disease. Most symptoms of heart disease go undiagnosed as most women think they are symptoms of other common ailments such as fatigue. Women generally don’t visit the cardiologist or heart specialist until they experience severe heart disease symptoms such as severe chest pain or shortness of breath. The reason behind neglecting heart disease given by most women is ‘no cardiologist near me’ or ‘no heart specialist near me’ or the best cardiologist is too far away. However, the reason for no cardiologist near me has become redundant with online doctor consultation. They just need to search ‘best cardiologist near me’ for the best cardiologist near their house. The ease of having an online cardiologist or heart specialist consultation with the best cardiologist has made life easier for most working women. Online cardiologist consultation is also helpful when any woman is experiencing a heart condition such as discomfort or chest pain and has no cardiologist doctor near her. The online cardiologist can provide immediate assistance or diagnosis and based on that can prescribe medicine or visit to nearby hospital/clinic/cardiologist doctor for treatment or diagnostic test. Though, the best cardiologist advice is prevention is better than cure for heart diseases, and women should go for regular health check-ups to a heart specialist.
Diagnosing Heart Disease
Most women don’t realize they have heart disease as there are no symptoms. Women keep postponing cardiologist visits stating they are not ill or no heart specialist near me They visit a heart specialist or cardiologist when they have any severe symptoms such as chest pain, shortage of breath, or heart palpitations. However, sometimes heart disease masquerades itself in many forms. So it’s essential to go for a cardiologist check-up to diagnose it early. It’s advisable to see your cardiologist doctor and discuss your chances for heart disease.
Women when going for a pregnancy test can also go for a cardiac diagnostic test to detect signs of heart diseases in self and the baby. Early detection, treatment, and prevention help in reducing the risk of developing heart disease in later years of life. Most signs of heart disease like fatigue, blood pressure, coughing, or indigestion are generally taken as a normal part of life or symptoms of other mild illnesses. But a heart attack can happen suddenly, so it’s extremely important to not ignore any potential sign of heart disease and go for regular check-ups with your cardiologist.
To diagnose the potential risk of heart disease, the cardiologist first takes the woman’s and her family medical history, ask about the symptoms, lifestyle, physical activity, etc. Depending on the history and symptoms, the cardiologist may ask for further tests such as blood tests, cholesterol test, lipid profile, thyroid function test, kidney function test, liver function test, EKG (electrocardiogram), echocardiogram, stress test, ultrasound of carotid arteries and coronary computed tomography angiography. Depending on the results of these tests, the cardiologist may ask for a further specialized test such as cardiac catheterization.
How to prevent heart diseases in women?
Heart disease can be caused by many things such as genetics, biological factors, medical issues, lifestyle factors, or general health. Women may not eliminate all risk factors which can cause heart disease, however, they can take certain preventive measures to reduce the risk of heart disease. Women can follow the below steps to reduce the risk or prevent heart disease:
- Controlling blood pressure: Uncontrolled blood pressure may lead to heart disease. So women should monitor their blood pressure, especially if they have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is asymptomatic, so it’s essential to check blood pressure regularly to monitor and control. Several lifestyle changes also help in controlling blood pressure.
- Check diabetes: Uncontrolled diabetes raises the risk of heart disease in women. So women should control their diabetes. For women who don’t have diabetes or who don’t know whether they have diabetes, can ask their doctor whether they should go for a diabetes test. Women with a family history of diabetes should also get their blood sugar tested.
- Quit smoking: If a woman has the habit of smoking, she should quit smoking to reduce the risk of heart disease. For women who don’t smoke, they should stay away from it.
- Control cholesterol and triglycerides: High blood cholesterol and triglycerides increase the risk of heart disease. So control cholesterol and triglycerides by consulting with the cardiologist doctor.
- Control weight: Obesity and being overweight increase the risk of heart diseases in women. Leading an active lifestyle and eating a healthy diet helps in controlling weight and reducing heart disease risk. Women should eat a healthy diet that includes whole grains, fruits, lean meats, and vegetables to control their weight. One can also consult a nutritionist for a proper diet chart.
- Reduce stress: Stress is one of the main risk factors for heart disease. So women should manage their stress levels and find healthy means to cope with them. An active lifestyle with regular physical exercising can help in controlling stress.
- Control alcohol intake: Women who consume alcohol in excess or daily, should control their alcohol intake. This will reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
- Regular health check-up: Get a regular health check-up from your cardiologist doctor done if have a family history of heart diseases, sleep apnea, had a heart attack, or any other medical condition.
Most time women don’t realize they have any heart disease as they have no symptoms. However, it’s advisable to get regular check-ups or visit your cardiologist to determine early your risk of heart disease and reduce the risk. Early detection and treatment are essential to prevent heart damage before it occurs. One of the easiest ways to start is by searching for ‘cardiologist near me‘ to find a good and experienced cardiologist doctor depending on your requirements.