We want to see healthy hearts in all people as they age, but women are especially at risk for heart disease
This first week of February, we celebrate Women’s Heart Health Week and beg the question: how can we help prevent heart disease in our aging female population? Let’s dive into 5 key things to know about women’s heart health and how your loved one can stay happy and healthy well into her senior years.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States
According to the CDC, heart disease killed 314,186 women in 2020 — or about 1 in every 5 female deaths. We mustn’t assume that heart disease is a purely male affliction. “Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a man’s disease, almost as many women as men die each year of heart disease in the United States” says the CDC.
This makes it especially important to look out for the symptoms of heart disease and heart attacks in our female population; overlooking these signs can make the difference between catching disease early and a deadly medical prognosis.
Heart disease can happen at any age, but it’s most common after menopause
Hormones play a huge role in heart health in women. According to an article Yale Medicine, “the incidence of heart disease in women starts going up around age 65 — about 10 years later than in men, likely due to the protective effects of estrogen.” Dr. Erica Spatz explains in the article that estrogen relaxes the heart and promotes good cholesterol. It’s important to note that not all cholesterol is bad for you — learn more from the CDC. Dr. Erica Spatz states:
“As estrogen declines, there is an emergence of cardiovascular risk factors such as high cholesterol and hypertension, including in women who previously had normal or even low cholesterol and blood pressure numbers.”
Heart attack symptoms in women differ from those in men
While chest pain is the most common symptom noted between both sexes, the CDC notes that nausea, vomiting, and fatigue are unique symptoms of a heart attack for women. Dr. Erica Spatz notes that “it’s often the case that women have a multitude of symptoms—maybe chest pain, but also a bunch of other symptoms that dilute the chest pain. All this may lead to under-recognition of symptoms by the women themselves and by their doctors.”
We here at Alvita Care are here to support you and your loved ones through all manner of health concerns in the aging process. Contact us to learn more about how we can walk you through your transition to homecare.