There are approximately 800,000 Jamaican women (20 – 64 years old) currently at risk of heart disease. Women under the age of 65, especially those with a family history of heart disease, should pay close attention to heart disease risk factors.
Surprising, but true: More women now die of heart disease than men, yet cardiovascular research has long focused on men. Pioneering doctor C. Noel Bairey Merz shares what we know and don’t know about women’s heart health — including the remarkably different symptoms women present during a heart attack (and why they’re often missed).
Some Risk Factors for heart disease in women:
- Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease significantly more in women than in men.
- Metabolic syndrome — a combination of fat around your abdomen, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high triglycerides — has a greater impact on women than on men.
- Mental stress and depression affect women’s hearts more than men’s. Depression makes it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow recommended treatment, so talk to your doctor if you’re having symptoms of depression.
- Smoking is a greater risk factor for heart disease in women than in men.
- A lack of physical activity is a major risk factor for heart disease, and as a group, women tend to be less active than men.
- Low levels of estrogen after menopause pose a significant risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease in the smaller blood vessels (microvascular disease).
- Pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy can increase a woman’s long-term risk of high blood pressure and diabetes and increase the risk of development of heart disease in both the mother and in her children.
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