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Women’s Heart Health

Woman jogging on a path

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the U.S., but women often have different warning signs. Women typically seek medical help later than they should, because they might not know their symptoms are dangerous. That’s why it’s important to understand the unique symptoms of heart disease in women, no matter your age.

Symptoms of Heart Attack in Women

Pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest is the most common heart attack symptom in women. But women can have heart attacks without chest pain, and they’re likelier than men to have other symptoms, such as:

  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back, or abdominal discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in one or both arms
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual fatigue

These symptoms can be more subtle than the extreme chest pain you may associate with heart attacks. It might feel more like pressure or tightness instead of an intense pain.

Dr. Molly Schultheis

Two out of three women with heart disease don’t have any warning signs before they have a heart attack. This puts them at much higher risk of fatal heart attack than their male counterparts.

Dr. Molly Schultheis, Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Heart Disease Risk Factors in Women

Women have many of the same risk factors as men, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity. But other factors may have a bigger impact in women than in men, such as:

  • Diabetes and inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus
  • Mental stress, depression, and broken heart syndrome (a condition caused by stressful situations that can lead to heart muscle failure)
  • Smoking
  • Inactivity
  • Menopause
  • Certain chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy for cancer
  • Pregnancy complications

At Englewood Health, our heart experts offer:

  • Specialized training and extensive experience treating women’s unique health needs
  • Customized treatment plans to help you manage your heart health
  • Comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for women’s heart conditions, including nonsurgical and surgical methods
  • Cardiac rehabilitation program to support your recovery and help you return to your routine
  • A patient- and family-centered care approach that respects your concerns and includes you as an active partner in managing your health
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