Facts to Know This Winter: Heart Attack in Men vs. Women
Every 7 minutes in Canada, someone dies from heart disease or stroke (Statistics Canada, 2011c). Unfortunately, it is too often we hear of heart issues occurring in the winter, for example from shoveling snow. It is important to thoroughly understand what occurs inside the body during these incidences to know best practices on how to treat and respond to them.
Angina & Heart Disease:
Angina (chest pain) is a strong warning sign of heart disease and if left untreated will eventually lead to a heart attack, stroke and possibly death. Heart Disease is caused by plaque accumulating in the coronary arteries over time. This “plaque” is a combination of cholesterol, fat, calcium and other substances that block crucial blood flow. Without this blood flow tightness, discomfort and pressure can be felt in the chest when the body is stressed or taking part in physical activity.
Difference in Men & Women:
Women differ from men as they more commonly develop heart disease within the smaller arteries that branch out from the coronary arteries; this is referred to as “Microvascular Disease.” Microvascular disease is more commonly found in younger women and causes additional angina symptoms: shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or sharp chest pain.
Recognizing signs of angina and heart disease is the first step towards recovery. Understanding risk factors, such as a family history, will be advantageous in understanding bodily changes. Seeking treatment is the second step towards recovery, and proves to save lives as 80% of heart disease is preventable.
Take the steps now to improve your personal health. Exercising regularly and eating a healthy balanced diet can do a lot for the heart!
If you feel as if yourself or someone close to you may be at high risk for heart attack due to genetics or symptoms, consider an Automated External Defibrillator for the home. Click here for more information.
Life is Precious. Be Prepared.