In late 2016, the sudden death of actress and beloved icon Carrie Fisher shocked the world. Only 60 years old, Ms. Fisher reminded us once again that the greatest health threat to women is heart disease – not cancer as so many assume.
Heart disease claims the lives of more women than all forms of cancer combined.
That’s right. All forms of cancer – including breast. Coronary heart disease (CHD) will ultimately affect the lives of 1-in-3 women.
A Disease Affecting Women…Equally
It’s the #1 killer in the world of both men and women but most associate it as being a “man’s disease.” Advertising for heart medication, reporting of heart disease in media, and fictional portrayals of heart attacks on film or television usually feature men.
Dramatic clutching of the chest or numbness of the left arm are hallmarks of directed heart attacks. Rarely is a woman portrayed and it’s rarer still to show a woman succumbing to a massive heart event.
As a result, many women don’t even know they have heart disease. Over the course of our lives, the deaths from heart disease affect men and women equally…but you’d never realize.
The heart risks in women remain underreported in the media, less of a priority with their doctors, and often misdiagnosed in emergency situations. Many doctors and hospitals never think to check – much less treat – their female patients for heart conditions, often sending them home with “heartburn” or “gas.”
Heart disease kills more women than men every year and has since 1984. It affects us equally…but we’re not warned or treated equally.
Experts estimate that 43 million women in the United States alone currently have heart problems. Many of them are unaware, undiagnosed, and untreated.Experts estimate that 43 million women in the United States alone currently have heart problems.Click To Tweet
Different Forms of CHD
According to the American Heart Association, every minute, a woman dies from a heart problem she may or may not know she has. Heart attack, stroke, arrhythmia, or sudden cardiac arrest are four types of heart disease women may experience.
Sometimes, symptoms are reported but more than two-thirds of women will have no warning. Additionally, female signs of a heart problem can be very different than those experienced by men (and portrayed in the media). They may think they have a flu or an “off” day and neglect to seek medical help.
Symptoms Reported in One-Third of Female Heart Events
- Pain in the chest, upper back, shoulder, or jaw
- Heart palpitations (“fluttering” sensation in the chest)
- Indigestion, heartburn, or nausea
- Extreme fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of extremities (hands, feet, ankles)
- Abdominal bloating
- Numbness in the face or extremities
- Loss of cognition (confusion, slurred speech, loss of coordination)
- Vision difficulties
- Severe headache
You can drastically lower your personal danger through changes to your diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits. Female risk of heart disease spikes about 10 years after menopause but scientists don’t yet understand why.You can lower your risk of heart disease through changes to your lifestyle habits. #heartdiseaseClick To Tweet
Even if the rest of the world doesn’t realize the connection between heart disease and women’s health, you can do everything possible to protect your heart for decades to come (and spread the word to all the women you know).
Scientists estimate that 90% of women have at least one risk factor for heart disease.
Smoking, high blood pressure, high blood sugar (diabetes), high cholesterol or triglycerides, living a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and systemic inflammation (often related to autoimmune disease) are all common risk factors for both genders.
However, 80% of these problems are treatable, preventable, or reversible!
To protect yourself from heart disease, women must first stop current decline. Here are three simple yet valuable changes you can make to slow further damage to your heart.
- Clean up your diet. Get rid of pro-inflammatory foods (refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and processed choices) and cut back on alcohol. Boost your vitamin and mineral intake, drink more water, and eat those veggies!
- Get control of abdominal weight. It’s not about style, it’s about stress on your heart. The biggest issue is excess weight around your gut. This vascular fat huddles around your organs (including your heart) and make them work harder to do the same job.
- Ditch the stress. While it would be great if all of us could get a massage each week to lower stress and inflammation, it isn’t an option for many. Look into meditation and yoga videos online to help manage stress and anxiety.
- Exercise regularly (and keep it simple). Low-impact exercise for 45 minutes a week had measurable results in weight and health in people over 50. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. A walk or a tai chi video at home are effective!
- Make sleep a priority. Getting adequate quality sleep is the simplest (and cheapest) modification you can make to improve your life and protect yourself from diseases like CHD. Tissue repairs and detoxification are done while you sleep…let your body work!
You can change the outcome…
Heart disease and women’s deaths are too high and we have to make major changes now.
Download the FREE report “Why Your Heart is Modern Medicine’s Deadliest Blind Spot” and share it with every woman you know.
None of us want to lose another person to a disease that has such a high rate of prevention. Let’s work together to start fighting back against the #1 killer in the world.