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Facts About Heart Disease in Women

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Joan Lunden

Heart Health / / February 19, 2014

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. It is the cause of nearly 1 in every 3 deaths, equating to 1 woman per minute is dying from this largely preventable disease. It is so important to know the facts that can save your life. Know the symptoms of a heart attack, track how you feel,  keep your own records and get help when you need it!

Symptoms of a heart attack

It is more difficult for a woman to realize she really is having a heart attack because our symptoms are unfortunately much more vague than a man’s symptoms. A man generally experiences the type of heart attack that we all picture from the movies - the stabbing pain, pressure in their chest and the loss of feeling and numbness in their left arm and hand. However for women, we might experience pressure that feels like an elephant is sitting on your chest OR we might not feel any pressure at all. Instead we might experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue. Some women say they felt more like they had acid reflux or the flu like symptoms. Unfortunately these symptoms are common for many ailments so we much listen to and trust our bodies and our intuition.  Because even when the signs are subtle, the consequences can be deadly, if you don’t get help right away.

Track how you feel

This might seem a bit obvious but if you are experiencing a change in your health patterns it could mean something is going on inside your body. Don't wait until the last minute to get help. Having a heart attack does not mean a death sentence...however not getting medical attention - that can be death sentence. That's is why more women die from heart disease in this country than men. It's because we don’t go for help. Only 30% of longevity is controlled by our genes, 70% is in our hands as we get older - so take control! 

Keep your own records

While each physician's office should keep their own records of your medical history it is still a good idea to keep one of your own. Many health professionals ask that you bring an up-to-date "health history” and a list of all the medications you're taking, who prescribed them & how often they are taken. And don't forget - these days, we also need to add any natural or alternative medicines we’re taking. Knowing what medications you are taking on a daily basis if vital information for your doctor and can help hims diagnose if you are at risk. 

Women are strong caregivers and we tend to put everyone else & all our responsibilities first, but that needs to change when it comes to our health. Being aware of  these facts about heart disease could help save someone you love or yourself in the unfortunate event of a heart attack. 

Categories: Heart Health
About The Author
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Joan Lunden truly exemplifies today’s modern working woman. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, one of America’s most recognized and trusted television personalities, this mom of seven continues to do it all. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Lunden brought insight to top issues for millions of Americans each day. The longest running host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 4 presidents and 5 Olympics and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families and themselves.

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