In fact, since 1984 more women have died from cardiovascular disease than men. In 2008, the mortality rate for women was 419,730 and men were 392,210. There are many variables in the statistics such as overall health, race, ethnicity, etc. However, women’s risk for cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and deaths is very significant.
One reason often viewed for women’s mortality is their symptoms are different, and somewhat more confusing then men’s. They may not have the sudden chest pain so often viewed as the major symptom. Most heart attacks suffer a shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheadedness, some pain in lower chest, pressure in the upper back and extreme fatigue.
Another reason for the increased mortality is women’s treatment is often not the same or delivered with the same urgency. Studies indicate the lack of identifying a heart attack may cause a delay getting to the ER, often resulting in a life saving stent (angioplasty) being placed much later then men’s. In general, the critical life saving measures implemented when an attack occurs, simply do not get to women as early as men.
Women, their partners, and close friends and associates, need to recognize the risk of heart attack and that symptoms could be different. The lack of that major chest grabbing pain may not be evident, but other signs are common. Seek medical attention immediately when there is any suspicion. Get to the ER and let them determine if it is an emergency. Don’t guess…it could be fatal.
And, let’s not forget, prevention is by far the best remedy. Follow a healthy diet, watch your weight and cholesterol and get some exercise. This will help you avoid cardiovascular disease.
Don’t forget, our existing patients are encouraged and welcome to come into the walk-in clinic in Naples at any time, without an appointment, and have their blood pressure checked. You’ll be in and out in five minutes, no paperwork, no forms, and no charge.
If you would like to be more proactive about your and your family’s health, you may be interested in reading more about Primary Care in Naples.