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Hearts of Women Too Long Ignored

Heart health is something that many people take for granted. And the heart health of women has in the past,been presumed to be less problematic than that of men.  This assumption led to a proliferation of neglect by medical industry leaders, researchers and institutions who ignored women's heart health for half a century while spending billions of dollars researching only hearts belonging to men. Heart failure and heart attack deaths in women far outweigh those from breast cancer and more women die annually than men from the same maladies.

Prevention and Knowledge Equal Life

When our mothers and their doctors decided that it was time to take care of their heart's health it was often too late.  The legacy they leave us is to be wise and beware and be noisy if we must.  It seems when we are young,a continuously healthy beating heart is something that we all take for granted. Unfortunately, the heart does work continuously and is prone to eventually succumbing to weaknesses both inherent and developed over time.  Prevention is the only real FIRST legitimate response toward lasting heart health for women.  Knowing the signs of pending heart danger is the SECOND.

Some medical professionals still have not tuned their ear to the quietly desperate cues women have been giving them all along regarding their early signs for women heart attack symptoms and female heart disease.The industry has finally acknowledged its longstanding ignorance and oversight of women's heart health. More research is now being done to determine the differences women exhibit in developing problems and in healing from them.  Medicine and treatment plans for women often differ from those of men.  And professionals no longer assume the reseach done on men can be applied blindly to women.

The fact is that a woman's heart attack symptoms give warning before the attack happens. Like warning tremors a month before an actual quake happens, the body will tell you what is happening and is going to happen. All you have to do is understand the warning signs, and heed them.  Women, busy in their lives with family and work often listen last to the body they count on to serve them.

The Signs for Women are Different Than the Signs for Men

The first thing to know is that the first signs for female heart attack can be very different than those for men. Women are not as likely to experience any chest compression, tightness, or pain prior to an event. Only 30% of women interviewed after a heart attack said that they experienced any chest pain leading up to their attack. Even during an attack, only 57% of women said that they had any chest pain. Men are also more prone to the shooting pains or a tingling feeling in their left arms. Women are more likely to experience extreme fatigue. Some people said that the fatigue was so severe that they could not do simple tasks around the house without having to rest.  When the body says STOP!;  women need to assume there is a good reason.

The Symptoms May Show Up Years Before the Attack

Other symptoms that a woman may be more likely to experience prior to a heart attack include sleep disturbances, shortness of breath, indigestion and anxiety. Shortness of breath and indigestion are common amongst male sufferers also. But, sleep disturbances are much more prevalent among women. These disturbances are linked to the fatigue, in that, because a woman is not getting enough rest she will be more likely to have extreme fatigue. Anxiety is usually a common symptom during a heart attack for both genders, but prior to and leading up to a heart attack only women commonly report anxiety.

Because women have more symptoms that are different from those typical in men, the heart attack itself often goes unrecognized. Many women are sent home even after showing up at the hospital where after being sent home, they have a second, even larger infarction, often resulting in coma or death.

There are early problems and signs that can go even farther back, years before the final assault. Usually an EKG will show any irregularities, but not always. Women may receive these when admitted to the hospital for medical proceedures unrelated to their hearts.  But unless primary care doctors and radiologists take special note, the paper file can be ignored.

Women Must Demand the Correct Diagnostic Tests

The deeper problems may remain hidden if this test and others, routinely performed on men who voice concerns, is not administered to the woman who presents. Often an echocardiogram is required to trace other contributing factors related to heart performance.  The costs of the test often mean that insurance companies must be consulted and tests approved.  Each of these steps becomes a barrier to  a woman getting the diagnostics and physician attention she needs.

If you have any signs of potential heart problems or women heart attack symptoms it is important to be tested, no matter what your age. If you have a family history and any of the risk factors associated with heart problems, then you should be tested even without precipitating symptoms, in the same way that men have been for decades. Those risk factors (smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, difficulty breathing) all need to be dealt with for a woman at risk to be completely secure that she is getting the best care possible for what is really happening to her.

Knowing that some symptoms can show up weeks before the actual attack. These include extreme nausea, dizziness, and back pain.  It is not necessary to panic if you have these symptoms, but it is something to have a doctor look into as soon as can be arranged. Especially, if the symptoms are new.

Early heart attack warning signs for women may be different than those of men, but the result is no less deadly. Make sure that you have regular checkups from a young age that include heart monitoring if you have a family history or any of the warning signs.  And do not ignore your body's signs of pending heart danger.

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