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5 Ways Women Can Ensure Heart Health

Men are often viewed as the primary sufferers of heart attacks, but women are also prone to heart disease. In fact, the Center for Disease Control found that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, accounting for one in every five female deaths.

Still, little light is shed on how heart disease manifests in women and how women specifically can tackle this silent killer.

So, how can women ensure they’re maintaining optimal heart health? It’s a mixture of health knowledge and essential lifestyle habits.


Know the symptoms

The symptoms for heart attacks in women can be different than those in men. For starters, where heart attacks in men are often accompanied by severe chest pain, women can instead experience jaw pain or abdominal discomfort.

While women can face chest pain as well, they’re more likely than men to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back pain as well. Female-specific heart attack symptoms are so vastly overlooked, they have been mistaken for other conditions, such as the flu.

Making sure women are educated about the differences between male and female heart attack symptoms is the first step toward prevention.

Try meditation

The primary risk factors for men and women that lead up to heart attacks can differ as well. For example, men are more prone to heart attacks as a result of obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and other poor lifestyle choices.

However, women are more likely to be at risk due to emotional and reproductive factors. These might include:

  • Stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Broken heart syndrome (also known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy)
  • Complications during pregnancy
  • Menopause

Therefore, while men are likely to need to make physical changes to combat a heart attack, women are likely to need to make emotional ones. Practicing meditation could be the solution to this problem, as it has been proven to lower stress and anxiety levels.

Women should engage in some deep breathing techniques on a regular basis to maintain mental and emotional stability. As a result, their risk for cardiovascular disease could greatly decrease.

Get plenty of rest

On average, women need 20 minutes more sleep than men, primarily because of their multi-tasking nature and higher brain activity. Consequently, women are also two to three times more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation, whether due to stress, pregnancy, menopause, or general environmental sensitivity.

Sleep apnea and similar sleep disorders can also occur after menopause. Insomnia can take a toll on heart health, increasing the risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.

For women looking to tackle this problem, the best solution is establishing a relaxing, pre-bedtime self-care routine. This might include a hot bath, meditation, chamomile tea, and the absence of screens for an hour before bed.

Kill belly fat

Women who carry their weight around their middle are more likely to suffer from heart disease than those who carry it in their butt, hips, or thighs. Fortunately, there are a few ways to combat belly fat, such as:

  • Eating low-carb, high-protein foods
  • Decreasing alcohol consumption
  • Reducing stress (high cortisol levels leads to belly fat)
  • Doing cardio exercise
  • Cooking with coconut oil
  • Eating more soluble fiber

Most of this goes hand-in-hand with a generally balanced diet low in trans fats, sodium, and dairy. Incorporating more fish is also essential for female health, as the Omega-3s can alleviate menstrual cramps, inflammation, and mood swings/depression.

Be persistent

The unfortunate truth is that even some medical professionals may be unfamiliar with the differences between male and female heart attack symptoms. That’s why it’s crucial that women educate themselves so that they can be persistent about their medical care.

Furthermore, because heart attack symptoms and panic attack symptoms can be similar, some medical professionals may be quick to dismiss a heart condition as anxiety. Get second opinions, request heart monitoring and additional tests, and keep staying up-to-date on new research.

Optimal heart health in women is just as much about due diligence and positive habits as it is about personal advocacy. By spreading this knowledge, we might see a decrease in heart disease related deaths among women.