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Heart Attacks & Women: Know Your Risk, Know the Signs

Heart Attacks & Women: Know Your Risk, Know the Signs


Heart Attacks & Women: Know Your Risk, Know the Signs

There’s more and more conversation around a woman’s heart health – and for good reason. While men are twice as likely to have a heart attack compared to women, heart disease is still the leading cause of death among women. And thanks to our busy lives, we may not realize (or want to admit) when we may be experiencing a heart attack.

Signs of heart attack in women

It’s estimated that a heart attack strikes every 43 seconds in the U.S. Getting immediate medical attention is key to increasing your chances of recovering fully from a heart attack.

The first step to getting treatment is to understand the symptoms of a heart attack – and how those signs may differ among women compared to men.

Women are just as likely as men to experience chest pain, tightness or pressure in the chest during a heart attack. Common symptoms also include pain along the arms, back or neck, jaw or stomach.

However, women are more likely to experience more subtle symptoms of a heart attack, such as:

  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Back and/or jaw pain
  • Pain or pressure in the lower chest or upper abdomen
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Extreme fatigue

These symptoms can occur without chest pain or pressure, making it difficult for women to immediately realize they are having a heart attack. If you have any question or concern you may be experiencing a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

Every emergency department doctor, nurse, and first responder will tell you the same thing – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Reduce your risk of heart attack and heart disease

A healthy lifestyle – one that includes regular physical activity and a healthy diet – can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease. You can also take other steps to improve your heart health, including:

  • Schedule an annual wellness appointment with your physician. This appointment gives you the opportunity to talk with your doctor about any health concerns. Your doctor will take your blood pressure and order a complete blood count (CBC) panel to check your cholesterol levels, blood glucose levels and other markers that may indicate your risk of heart attack and other chronic conditions.
  • Quit smoking. The American Heart Association estimates that after just one year of quitting smoking, you can reduce your risk of heart disease by 50 percent; after five years, the risk is similar to that of a nonsmoker.

If you’re worried about your heart health, and your personal risk of heart attack, contact us today. We can sit down with you to discuss your lifestyle, health, family history and steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart attack.

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Eileen West, MD
Eileen West, MD about 11 hrs ago
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The scenario plays out like this… you’re sitting at home watching reruns of Friends when your vision blurs. Minutes later your head feels like it's set in a vice, and someone is cranking the lever. With your head throbbing, the nausea kicks in. After making a bathroom stop (goodbye lunch), you climb into bed and pull the covers over your face, lying still in the dark. Can you relate? This is called migraine, and sadly this illness is all too common. ● Approximately 39 million people in the US and 1 billion people worldwide have migraines ● Most people with migraine have 1 to 2 attacks per month which can extend from 4 hours to 3 days ● 36 billion is spent each year on healthcare and loss of productivity due to migraines Add onto those staggering stats this surprise—WOMEN are at greatest risk. Studies show that 8 out of 10 people with migraine are females. While research isn’t fully conclusive as to why, the data points to women’s hormone levels changing. ➡️ If you are battling migraines, please know that you do not need to suffer alone. At Eileen West, MD, and Associates, we are here to help you find the right treatment to prevent migraines and make them less painful. You have a life to lead. We’re here to help you on that journey and provide exceptional care. ⭐️ June is National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month. Share your migraine questions below… We’d love to help. #youdeservebetter #msmedicine #fairfaxphysician #conciergemedicine #lifestylemedicine #doctorsofinstagram #femalephysician #womenshealth #fairfaxdoctor #fairfax #fairfaxva #fxva #dc #washington #loveVA #fairfaxcounty #virginia #northernvirginia #nova #dcarea #dmv #va #nham

Eileen West, MD
Eileen West, MDabout 2 days ago
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IT’S SELF-CARE SUNDAY. We’re back this week to focus on the importance of self-care and giving you tips on how to practically care for the physical, mental, emotional, & social parts of you. Today’s self-care tip is simple but necessary: Find Ways To Relax Our American society prides itself on doing, doing, doing. Here’s the truth - busy doesn’t equal beneficial. We need a balance of work, play, and rest. Your mind, body, and emotions need periods of relaxation in order to refuel. Here are 10 Ways You Can Relax: ● Meditate ● Do Yoga ● Get a massage ● Take a nature walk or hike ● Journal ● Swim ● Listen to calming music ● Sit in the sun ● Color ● Read a book Self-care isn’t selfish, it is essential. Your brain and body need downtime. Do yourself a favor & RELAX. ➡️ What is your favorite way to relax? Tell us in the comments. #youdeservebetter #msmedicine #fairfaxphysician #conciergemedicine #lifestylemedicine #doctorsofinstagram #femalephysician #womenshealth #fairfax

Eileen West, MD
Eileen West, MDabout 6 days ago
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