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9 things women should know about Heart disease symptoms

What is the number one cause of death in Australia? Heart disease!

Heart disease can result in death by heart attack AND through stroke. It’s the primary killer of people 45 years and older – and stays the top killer up until age 85 (when dementia takes over as the disease that claims most lives).

In 2022 alone, 11,303 men and 7,340 women died of heart disease.

Sadly, many of those people – particularly the women – had no idea that they were at risk.

Why the women?

It used to be thought women were at less risk of heart disease – but not any more.

This is partly because of life style changes (like increased alcohol intake) and also increased stress levels. The drop in protective hormones levels through menopause combines with these lifestyle factors too.

However, it’s ALSO because the symptoms of heart disease are different (and more subtle) in women.

Heart attack presents differently in women

Women experiencing a heart attack can have less severe – and sometimes different – symptoms than men. Their chest pains can be less intense, and they can experience a wider range of symptoms. Women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as:

  1. Neck, jaw, shoulder, or upper back discomfort
  2. Upper belly (abdomen) discomfort
  3. Shortness of breath
  4. Pain in one or both arms
  5. Nausea or vomiting
  6. Sweating
  7. Lightheadedness or dizziness
  8. Unusual fatigue
  9. Heartburn (indigestion)

So, that indigestion may not be heartburn, and that gut discomfort may be more than “a bit of bloating”.

If you’re experiencing symptoms such as those above – especially ones that are outside your “normal” – then check with your GP.

It’s better to be safe and to know what’s going on.

Talk with your GP about the Troponin blood test. This possible indicator of heart damage may be elevated at least 6 to 12 hours after the onset of cardiac-like symptoms. These levels may remain high for a few weeks after a ‘quiet’ heart attack.

High Troponin levels can also be related to other health conditions- so the test is worth doing for overall information.

Hawthorn Berry Benefits 1296x728 Feature

Hawthorn is one of many beneficial herbal medications for heart health

Avoiding and minimising heart health problems

Diet and lifestyle are the most obvious strategies for improving heart health – but there are also specific nutritional and herbal boosters that may help you thrive.

If you need help with optimising your heart health – or your health in general – then consult with your experienced, informed Naturopath for further information and a personalised program to best meet your needs.

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