There is a wrong perception that men deal with heart diseases more than women. Some women may not know what to look for because heart disease symptoms may differ from those of men. Although heart disease has been on the rise for decades, only about half of women recognize it as their greatest killer.
Here is more information on heart disease and the average age of heart attack in females:
- As of 2019, there have been 301,345 deaths from heart disease among women in the U.S. or about one out of every five deaths.
- African American and White women who suffer from heart disease are at an increased risk for death. Heart disease and cancer are the most common causes of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women. Women of Hispanic and Asian descent are most likely to be killed by heart disease and cancer than by any other cause.
- The most common type of heart disease in women is coronary heart disease, which affects 6 percent of women over the age of 20:
- In the United States, approximately 1 out of 15 White women, Black women, and Hispanic women suffer from a heart attack.
Recent research suggests young women are more likely to experience heart attacks. Despite an overall decline in heart attacks among older adults, the rate has risen among those aged 34-55, particularly women. Over 30,000 heart attack cases in five cities were taken into account for the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study.
"This observational study found a trend in young women," says Virginia Colliver, M.D., a cardiologist with Johns Hopkins Community Physicians-Heart Care in Bethesda, Maryland. "But the research doesn't provide insight into why the uptick in heart attacks is happening to younger people. I suspect it has to do with more people having risk factors for heart disease at an earlier age."
Would you be able to find relief if you experienced chest pain, nausea, or extreme sweating as a thin, young, non-smoker exercising regularly? Heart attacks can strike anyone, no matter how young or healthy they are. After age 55, heart attacks are more common in women; however, they can occur at any age. The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) causes 38 percent of heart attacks among women younger than 50, but only a small percentage of heart attacks overall. The average age of heart attack in females is usually only 42 years.
What women experience when they have a heart attack
For women, the most common symptoms are similar to those of men. They include discomfort in the chest, pain or pressure lasting quite some time or that appears and disappears. But women are not always bothered by chest pain or that it's one of the most noticeable symptoms. The sensation of chest pressure and tightness are common signs of a heart attack in women. A heart attack can also occur without any symptoms of chest discomfort. Heart attack symptoms without chest pain are more common in women than in men, including:
- Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back, or upper belly (abdomen) discomfort
- Breathing problems
- Both or one arm is painful
- Throwing up or feeling nauseated
- Headache or dizziness
- Inflammation of the heart
Some of these symptoms are vague and may not be noticed as easily as heart attack symptoms such as crushing chest pain. Women could have smaller arteries that supply blood to their hearts that are blocked more than their main arteries due to a condition called small vessel heart disease or coronary microvascular disease. When resting or even sleeping, women report experiencing symptoms more frequently than men. Women are more likely to suffer heart attacks when they experience emotional stress. Women may be diagnosed with heart disease less frequently than men because their heart attack symptoms may differ from men's. Heart attacks in women with no severe blockage in an artery are more common than in men.
Are hormones connected to your risk of a heart attack?
Known as hormone replacement therapy, prescription hormones are commonly used by women for birth control and menopause relief. Can these medications adversely affect the average age of heart attack in females? "Blood clots or high blood pressure can be caused by birth control pills, as well as blood clots in the heart or legs. So, if you have a history of high blood pressure or clotting problems, other types of contraception might be a better fit for you," says Virginia Colliver, M.D., a cardiologist with Johns Hopkins Community Physicians-Heart Care in Bethesda, Maryland. "But for most young women, it's safe to take birth control medication."
If possible, women over 50 should avoid estrogen and progesterone medicines if they wish to reduce their risk of heart disease. "If your overall risk of heart attack is extremely low and you desperately need relief from hot flashes and other postmenopausal symptoms, then hormone replacement therapy may be fine for you," says Colliver. "But after the age of 65, we really try to avoid using them at all because they do increase the risk of heart disease and potentially breast cancer." Women of all ages should take heart disease seriously. Individuals under the age of 65 with a history of cardiovascular diseases ought to pay special attention to cardiovascular health risks to increase the average age of heart attack in females.
Keeping your heart healthy through exercise
Maintaining a healthy heart involves regular exercise. Most days of the week, aim to exercise moderately, such as walking at a moderate pace. If you can't accomplish that, start from a small level. It is beneficial to exercise even for five minutes every day. You can boost your health significantly by exercising about 60 minutes a day, five days a week, in a moderate to vigorous manner. Make sure to include strength training exercises at least two times per week as well.
There's nothing wrong with breaking up your workouts throughout the day into a few 10-minute sessions. Your heart will still benefit from this. Maintaining a healthy weight, improving blood pressure, and ensuring a healthy heart can also be accomplished by performing short bursts of intense exercise mixed with periods of lighter exercise. Incorporate short bursts of walking or running during your walking sessions.
Here are a few tips you can use to incorporate exercise into your daily life and thereby avoid worries about the average age of heart attack in females:
- Avoid taking the elevator and instead, take the stairs.
- Walk or ride a bike to work or run errands.
- You can watch television while marching in place.
Taking care of women with heart disease
Women and men are generally treated similarly for heart disease. Treatment options may include medications, coronary bypass surgery, angioplasty, and stenting. Women's treatment of heart disease differs from that of men, including the following:
- For men, aspirin and statin use are less likely to help prevent future heart attacks than women. But studies have shown that the benefits for both groups are comparable.
- Fewer women are having coronary bypass surgery than men, perhaps because women have smaller arteries and more diseases of the small vessels.
- Recovery from heart disease can be aided by cardiac rehabilitation. The likelihood of women being referred to cardiac rehabilitation is lower than that of men.
Don't ignore the warning signs.
Whenever you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention right away. Heart attacks can strike suddenly and without warning. Many just begin slowly, with some discomfort or pain. If you experience any of the following, call 911 immediately.
- Discomfort in the chest. People who suffer from heart attacks usually experience pain on the right side of the chest that goes away and then returns after a few minutes. An uncomfortable sensation may occur, such as squeezing, fullness, or pain.
- Another area of the upper body is also uncomfortable. You may experience discomfort or pain in the arm, spine, jaw, or stomach.
- Having a hard time breathing. Chest discomfort may accompany this.
- The symptoms may also include a sweating sensation, vomiting, and weakness.
Know the signs of heart attacks, but be sure to get checked out even if you're unsure. You no longer need to worry about the average age of heart attack in females. Every minute counts. It may be your own life that is saved. Feeling heart attack symptoms? Call 911 immediately. Receiving lifesaving treatment as soon as possible is almost always possible by dialing 911.
If someone is driven to a hospital, an emergency medical team (EMS) can begin treatment within an hour of their arrival. Medical professionals can also stop someone's bleeding when they arrive. Those who arrive at the hospital via ambulance with chest pain usually receive faster treatment as well.From the Web