Health Care

Women and Heart Disease: What to Know


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What do you think is the most common cause of death among women? If you said, “heart disease,” you’re one of a growing number of people recognizing the central role of heart health in women.

Heart disease is responsible for about one in three deaths of American women. Women often focus on the men in their lives when they think of heart attacks and heart disease, but it is important for women to know that there are special risks as well as unique signs and symptoms of this deadly disease for them.

Luckily, about four in five cases of heart disease can be prevented through lifestyle changes. But many women haven’t made the connection between their health and heart disease risk. Figuring out where you stand and making a change can dramatically lower your risk of having a heart attack at any age.

Women at Risk:

  • Women who smoke risk having a heart attack 19 years earlier than non-smoking women.
  • Women with diabetes have more than double the risk of heart attack than non-diabetic women.
  • Women with Hypertension
  • Obesity leads to an increased risk of premature death due to cardiovascular problems.

There’s a lot you can do to safeguard your heart at any age:

  • Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity such as brisk walking each week and do two or more days of muscle-strengthening exercises.
  • Don’t smoke, or quit smoking if you do.
  • Eat foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat and sodium. Choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish and low-fat dairy (skim or 1%) products.

Your heart health is a marathon, not a sprint. That’s why it’s important to check in regularly with wellness exams.

Women’s Heart Attack Warning Signs:

Keep in mind that heart attack symptoms can be different for women than they are for men. For instance, in addition to chest pain, women are more likely to experience at least one of these other symptoms:

  • Back or Jaw Pain
  • Cold Sweats (Unrelated to Menopause)
  • Dizziness or Light-Headedness
  • Heavy Pressure on the Chest
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Sudden Fatigue

If you notice any of these heart attack signs, call 911 and get to an emergency room right away.

Expert Cardiac Care Close to Home

Dean Abtahi, MD is a board-certified Internal Medicine and General Cardiologist at AdventHealth Medical Group Interventional Cardiology at Palm Coast. He received his medical degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, FL. He completed fellowships in general and interventional cardiology at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

Dr. Abtahi's services include:

  • Cardiac screening and prevention
  • Cardiac angioplasty and stenting
  • Stress testing, cardiac and vascular imaging
  • Peripheral vascular disease screening and treatment
  • Endovascular intervention
  • Pacemaker and ICD implantation

He is welcoming new patients and accepts most insurance plans. His office location is 61 Memorial Medical Pkwy Suite 2811, Palm Coast, FL 32164. You can contact his office at Call386-586-1955.

Learn more about Dean Mehdi Abtahi, MD at AdventHealth.

Dr. Dean Abtahi

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