Cardiovascular disease kills more women than any other disease. This is 12 times as often as breast cancer related mortality. Women also have been victims of heart diease more often than men for over 25 years. The fact is that one in three women die unexpectedly of heart disease.
Generally there is very little chest pain, but mostly, shortness of breath and weakness. Sometimes neck, arm and back pain are the presenting symptoms. Abdominal or shoulder discomfort with nausea, may mimic indigestion.
WHY SO COMMON?
It is now known that women at the high risk age group of 45-64 are simply unhealthy at alarming rates. This is due to the widespread incidence of obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes and prediabetes. Prediabetes is found in about one third of women aged 45-54. High cholesterol is found in 60% of the same age group, one third have high blood pressure, one in five smoke and two thirds are overweight.
It thus becomes obvious that this is a lifestyle-related health problem, linked to the obesity epidemic. It is directly increased with high body weight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood glucose. Therefore it is manageable by proper diet.
Depression is another common risk factor. Women with a history of depression, anger management problems and stress factors also contribute to increased risk.
The highest risk factor is a waist circumference of over 35 inches. If you or any female you know has a waist circumference over 35 inches, a thorough evaluation is needed. Women who lost 5% of their body weight and exercised two and a half hours per week lowered their risk of diabetes by 58%.