Steady Increase in Cardiovascular Deaths Affects Younger Women

Dr. Holly Andersen of the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute Offers Women Tips on Recognizing a Heart Attack and Reducing Their Risk of Heart Disease

The risk for heart-related death is increasing in young adults ages 35 to 54, and the numbers are even more alarming for younger women. It is the number-one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, yet every year since 1984 more women have died of cardiovascular health problems than men, according to the American Heart Association.

“Although there has been a general decline in deaths caused by heart disease, the last decade has seen a steady increase among younger women ages 35 to 44. Women account for more than 50 percent of deaths due to heart disease and 60 percent of stroke deaths in this country.” – Dr. Holly Andersen Director of Education and Outreach Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center

Dr. Andersen offers the following advice to women on how to stay healthy, know their risk factors, and get the best medical treatments to take better care of their hearts.

Enjoy yourself. Eat right, be active, attempt to get a good night’s sleep, practice stress reduction, and enjoy fun times with friends. Women who regularly spend time with close friends have less heart disease.

Know the warning signs of an attack. Women oftentimes do not experience the crushing chest pain that is so often associated with a heart attack. Women are more likely to experience atypical symptoms, which may include neck, shoulder or abdominal pain. Others may have nausea, vomiting, fatigue or shortness of breath, Most women experiencing a heart attack know that something is wrong.

Test for the silent attack. Some women, however, feel no pain at all and experience what is known as a silent heart attack. Silent heart attacks lead to long-term shortage of blood and oxygen flow to the heart. If you are a post-menopausal woman and have at least three risk factors for heart disease, you should discuss with your doctor the tests available to determine if you have coronary artery disease.

Know your risk factors. Your risk of having a heart attack greatly increases if you are obese/overweight, a smoker, or have high cholesterol and/or diabetes.Benutzerdefinierte Inflatables

According to the American Heart Association, low-levels of good cholesterol (HDL) are a stronger predictor of heart disease death in women than in men over 65.

Call 911. The most recent survey from the AHA showed that only 53 percent of women who believe they were having a heart attack would call 911. Time is muscle and can mean the difference between life and death. If you think you are having a heart attack, do not wait — call 911. Emergency medical teams can begin to treat patients before they arrive at the hospital and save precious time that is often lost when patients try to drive themselves to the emergency room.

Get an EKG. Once a woman does arrive in the emergency room it is important to ask for an EKG test or an enzyme blood test to check for a heart attack, since medical professionals may attribute a woman’s symptoms to other health conditions such as indigestion.