Heart or cardiac disease is one of the leading causes of death in women. Women sometimes experience vague or even no symptoms. It is mostly, a silent threat in women. This is the main reason why cardiac disease in women go undiagnosed and is only detected when the complications arise.
Types of cardiac diseases in women
Coronary microvascular disease:
It is also called as small artery disease or small vessel disease. In this condition, the walls and inner lining of the minute blood vessels that branch off from the larger coronary arteries are affected. These small vessels can go into spasms or can get blocked, and interrupt the blood supply to the heart muscles.
Broken heart syndrome:
It is also known as stress cardiomyopathy. It is a temporary heart condition which is caused due to stress.
Coronary heart disease (CHD):
It is a disease in which the coronary arteries are blocked due to the formation of plaque. As the plaque builds up, it can obstruct the lumen of the arteries, and block the blood supply, resulting in the death of the heart muscles. This condition is called as a heart attack.
Left ventricular hypertrophy:
It is the enlargement and thickening of the walls of the heart’s main pumping chamber- the left ventricle. It is common in people who have uncontrolled high blood pressure. It is more common in women than in men.
Signs and symptoms of cardiac disease
Chest pain or angina is a common symptom of a cardiac disease. Women may experience chest pain differently than men. It can occur anywhere in the chest (not only the left side) and in some instances, you may not experience any chest pain. The chest discomfort may seem to be a symptom of heartburn or indigestion. The pain can be mild or severe.
You may experience fatigue even after taking rest. It can also have a sudden onset.
Shortness of breath:
If you have trouble in breathing without any reason, it may be the warning sign for cardiac disease.
Pain in your arm, shoulder, neck, jaw, or back:
You will experience sudden pain which may wax and wane. You may not be able to sleep properly due to pain. You may have pain or numbness in one or both the arms; heaviness or pressure on one or both the shoulders; choking or burning feeling in the neck; pain around lower jaw on one or both sides; and pain in the back. Usually, the pain extends from the chest to these parts.
Upper abdominal pain:
Everyone has a misconception that stomach pain may be due to improper digestion. But the fact is that it is one of the symptoms of cardiac diseases.
Cold sweating is a common symptom of the cardiac disease.
Swelling in the legs and stomach is also one of the symptoms of cardiac disease.
Dizziness or light-headedness is one of the symptoms of cardiomyopathy, and indicates that the blood is not reaching the brain.
Irregular heart beat:
When you are nervous or excited, your heart beat will increase. But when you feel like your heart is beating out of time for few seconds and if it happens often, then it is a sign of cardiac disease.
If you experience symptoms such as fatigue, sweating, or upper abdominal pain, don’t self-diagnose them to be non-serious symptoms. All the symptoms can’t be seen in a single person, but you may experience a few of these symptoms. Pay attention and consult your doctor for further diagnosis.
Practicing healthy eating habits and regular exercise can reduce the risk of cardiac disease. So, maintain a healthy lifestyle by modifying your diet, starting an exercise program, and quitting cigarettes.