Heart disease can be scary to talk about, but it’s important: according to the American Heart Association, heart attack and stroke kill one in three women – more than all cancers combined.
In honor of American Heart Month, the physicians at All About Women encourage you to learn about the unique signs of heart attack and stroke in women and to help reduce your risk of a heart attack with annual well-woman visits.
Signs of Heart Attack in Women
For women, the signs of heart attack can be much different than men. In addition to, or even instead of, the classic symptom of uncomfortable pressure or pain in the center of your chest, women may also experience other symptoms during a heart attack including:
- Shortness of breath during regular activity
- Unusual pain in the upper or lower back
- Jaw pain
- Nausea, cold sweats, or lightheadedness
These symptoms may even begin manifesting several weeks before a heart attack.
One myth among women is that heart attacks only happen to those who are older. But the truth is that heart attacks can happen at any age and every woman needs to know her own particular risk factors for heart disease.
Learn more about what a heart attack might look like in a younger woman by watching this video featuring Emmy-nominated actress Elizabeth Banks:
Stroke is the number four cause of death in America and the leading cause of severe, long-term disability. When it comes to recognizing a stroke, women should know the acronym FAST:
- Face drooping
- Arm weakness
- Speech difficulty
- Time to call 911 right away.
The Importance of Preventative Care
When it comes to taking care of your heart, having your annual well-woman visit plays a big part in prevention. These visits aim to help you manage factors that can reduce your risk of heart disease. The AMA calls these Life’s Simple Seven:
- Control Cholesterol
- Manage Blood Pressure
- Reduce Blood Sugar
- Get Active
- Eat Better
- Lose Weight
- Stop Smoking
It’s important to be honest with your doctor at your well-woman visit and to alert them of any concerning symptoms you may have recently had, no matter how irrelevant they may seem.
Beyond gynecological services, the physicians at Gainesville and Lake City’s All About Women are also able to provide well-woman visits in a comfortable environment.