Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost two-thirds of the women who die suddenly of heart disease had reported no previous symptoms. It is more likely that women had symptoms but did not recognize them as heart disease.

Symptoms in women may not be as obvious as those in men. Here are some symptoms to consider:

  • Dull, heavy to sharp pain in the neck, jaw or throat or pain in the upper abdomen or back.
  • Fluttering feelings in the chest (palpitations)
  • Shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling in the feet, ankles, legs or abdomen

Risk factors include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Frequent alcohol use
  • Family history of heart disease

If you have any of these factors, discuss them with your doctor and consider a baseline screening with a cardiologist.