Heart complications are the deadliest issues affecting women. There are specific symptoms and risk factors that occur mostly in women compared to men, for example, depression, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. In contrast, others are unique ONLY to women, like menopause and pregnancy. Board-certified specialists including Satjit Bhusri, MD, FACC, care for Upper East Side women’s heart health to improve patients’ well-being.
Heart disease 101
Any medical concern associated with the cardiovascular system, specifically the organ that pumps blood, is categorized as heart disease. The most popular type of heart complication is coronary heart disease that occurs due to plaque build-up in the arterial walls causing the blood vessels to narrow and harden in a process known as atherosclerosis. Coronary heart disease interferes with the normal pumping of blood and can lead to the development of a blood clot, which can cause heart attack and even death.
How to know if you have heart disease
Most heart diseases have subtle symptoms, with many women suddenly dying from heart complications having experienced no symptoms. However, the most common heart disease symptoms to look out for include discomfort or pain in the chest, back, neck, or jaw. It is crucial to seek emergency medical care if you think you have heart disease. Once you visit your care provider, he or she will conduct tests after thoroughly reviewing your family medical history and lifestyle to find out if you smoke or are physically inactive.
Risk factors for heart disease
Most risk factors are controllable and, if looked after, can massively reduce the risk of you developing heart disease.
- Habits like avoiding smoking, eating a healthy balanced diet, limiting alcohol intake, staying physically active, and reducing stress improve cardiovascular function and lower your heart disease risk.
- Improving on certain health problems, for example, high cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure, obesity, and being overweight, by making healthy lifestyle changes is a great way of staying healthy and avoiding heart disease.
- Age, genetics, and menopause are examples of risk factors you cannot control. However, being aware of your status can help you and your doctor develops a preventative plan that will lower your heart disease chances.
How pregnancy affects a woman’s risk of developing heart disease
The heart tends to work harder during pregnancy due to an increase in blood volume. During pregnancy, some women develop gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. These diseases put you at risk for heart disease. Women must attend pre-natal check-ups for health care to help identify high-risk pregnancies, which will help control and prevent a patient’s risk of developing heart disease.
Menopause and heart disease
Ovaries are responsible for estrogen formation. This hormone releases blood vessels and maintains a healthy cholesterol balance. Therefore, menopausal women are at risk of developing heart disease because they lack the hormone estrogen.
How birth control affects your risk for heart disease
A combination of hormonal birth control options, such as a skin pack, the pill, and the vaginal ring, can increase your chances of developing heart disease, especially for women older than 35, with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or women who smoke. You must not use hormonal birth control if you smoke.
Contact Upper East Side Cardiology to get a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for heart disease.