What should every woman know about her heart?

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

In the U.S. around 25% of all deaths are due to heart disease - this means that taking care of your heart should be high up on everyone’s priority list. It can sometimes be hard to know if you are at risk of having heart disease, so this blog should help to clear it up.

Women of all shapes and sizes are at risk.

Of course, being overweight or obese will have a major effect on the health of your heart, however, there are still lots of thin women who can have high blood pressure or high level of cholesterol. If you have a family history of high cholesterol then you may also be at a higher risk of having it as well. Although you have a healthy BMI you may still have a large amount of fat stored deep in the abdomen, which can still put you at risk of developing a heart condition.

Being pregnant can highlight problems with your heart

When you are pregnant you may get a high blood pressure or other problems with your heart. Once you have given birth to your baby the symptoms may go. However, research should that women who have an increased blood pressure during pregnancy may be at high risk of developing heart disease in later life. Pregnancy is like a test for your body, so weaknesses in your cardio system may show up while you are pregnant.

Sleep matters

Did you know that if you are sleep deprived then you may have an increased blood sugar level and blood pressure? Research shows that people who have 5 or less hours sleep at night have an increased level of calcium in their blood which can be an early sign of heart disease. But it has also found that people who sleep 9 or more hours a day are also a risk. So, we recommend that you try to have around 7 hours of sleep each night.

Not all heart attacks are detected

It is estimated that around 45% of all heart go unnoticed because they have mild symptoms, most of which were women. If you have a family history of heart problems then it may be a good idea to have a check-up if you are having symptoms such as shortness of breath, back pain, jaw pain or fatigue.

Stay fit in your forties

Staying healthy in later life can help to reduce your risk of a stroke by 37%. Dr Kwon said "Exercise is one of the best things that you can do to prevent and combat cardiovascular disease." People that already have coronary artery disease can also benefit from exercise as it helps the heart to work around the blockage, however, it may be a good idea to consult your doctor before you start.

You should never ignore warning signs

Symptoms for heart attacks in a woman can be different from the symptoms that men get, and can, therefore, be confused with other conditions such as indigestion or panic attacks. Here are some of the signs that women should look out for:

  • Tightness or pressure sensation in your chest

  • Tingling in your arms or legs

  • Shortness of breath

  • Racing heart

  • Jaw pain

  • Headache/dizziness

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea/vomiting

Know your numbers!

Having high numbers can means that you are at a higher risk of developing heart disease. You should aim to have:

  • Your cholesterol below 200 mg/dL

  • Your blood pressure under 120/80

  • Your BMI under 25

  • Your waist circumference under 35 inches (89 cm)

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.