As a whole, women put health issues on hold because of the long list of priorities. For example, tell a new mom to take a nap because she's tired, and she'll clean the house instead because it is her only free time. Ask a career woman to put off a business meeting for her gynecology exam, and which do you think will get moved first?
Heart disease is the number one killer of women
Women are busy with the roles of mother, caretaker, friend, mentor, chauffeur, business colleague, entrepreneur and so on. With the daily activities preventative health measures are minimized or excluded, and that includes heart disease which can lead to heart attacks. Heart disease is a significant health problem and the number one killer of women in the United States, which surpasses cancer. This "number one killer" has some unusual symptoms in women, causing it to go unnoticed, or untreated until a heart attack occurs.
Unusual heart attack symptoms that go ignored
During my last CPR class, we held a discussion over the unusual symptoms of heart attacks in women
. Several symptoms were different from men's, and completely ignored by women.
- Pains in the middle of the back, between the shoulder blades
- Pain in the face, neck, ears and jaw
- Exhaustion and fatigue [severe]
- Sleep disturbance
- Cold sweats, nausea and lightheadedness
- Chest pain or shortness of breath
Placing everything else first commonly leaves preventative health measures last, but who will take care of you if you have a heart attack? When it comes to heart disease think short and long-term, and ask how would a heart attack hinder you, or your family?
Will you know if you have these unusual heart attack symptoms?
Many women know they are having health problems before a heart attack occurs due to the severity of the symptoms. As a matter of fact, a study funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
, part of the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services found that "95% said they knew their symptoms were new or different a month or more before experiencing their Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI)."
Take preventative health measures before the heart attack symptoms occur
Women should be aware of the symptoms, and take preventative health measures
to maintain a healthy heart before heart attack symptoms occur. What does that mean? It means exercise regularly, eat healthy foods, know your blood pressure and keep it in check with regular health screenings, don't use tobacco products, and maintain a healthy weight. However, if you haven't taken any preventative measures until the symptoms occur, it's very important to visit your health care practitioner.
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