Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. However, male cardiology health suffers much earlier, and the course of many pathologies, for example, a heart attack, has distinctive features. But bad habits have a worse effect on women, and the young age. What is the difference between women’s pathologies of the heart from men’s, what preventive measures are needed, what should you pay special attention to?
The heart of a man is affected earlier
At a relatively young age, up to 40-45 years old, men suffer from heart disease much more often than women. In this age period, men more often than women have high blood pressure – this is one of the significant risk factors for heart disease. However, between 45 and 64 years, the incidence of hypertension in both sexes is evened out, which is associated with the onset of menopause in women. So, at a young and middle age, before menopause, the woman’s heart and blood vessels protect estrogen to a certain extent. Compared to men, women have lower cholesterol levels before menopause, and the vessels are not so strongly affected by plaques. If a woman watches over her health, keeps fit through a rational diet and exercise, her a heart relatively well protected from pathologies. After menopause, the protective effects of estrogen disappear.
Women’s health is not considered comprehensively.
Specialists of different profiles who advise and treat women are wary of the female reproductive sphere and breast health. For the most part, general practitioners, gynecologists and breast specialists take care of women’s health, but cardiologists are not among them, while in men, after 30-35 years of age, they closely monitor pressure, cholesterol and heart condition.
In women, the focus is on breast and uterine cancer, as well as the health of the mother and fetus. But cardiovascular diseases in women before the period of menopause, doctors undeservedly overlooked, although the prerequisites for future strokes, hypertension and arrhythmias are laid back in youth.
For whom is bad habits more dangerous?
Although experts say that bad habits are dangerous for everyone, but in relation to women’s health, smoking and alcohol are a double risk. A habit like smoking for a young woman is a more powerful risk factor than for young men when it comes to developing cardiovascular diseases. This is associated with a higher risk of blood clots in women with bad habits and using birth control pills. Plus, tobacco use is a stronger risk factor for atherosclerotic plaques in arteries and heart disease. And the longer a woman does not get rid of the habit, the more serious the consequences can be.
Women’s heart attacks have a “non-classical” scenario.
“Classic” signs of heart attack are more typical for men than for women, especially at a young age. The strongest pain in the chest, extending into the left arm and reflected in the jaw, a feeling of compression of the chest, interruptions in the work of the heart, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath are the classic signs of a heart attack, regardless of gender. However, if in men the heart attack in the overwhelming majority is manifested by this set of symptoms, then in 1/3 of women the clinical signs may be different. So, they do not experience pain or pressure in the chest during a heart attack. They may have isolated pain in the jaw, back and shoulder, which cannot be explained, or nausea, dizziness. A common symptom is a sudden inability, inability to climb the stairs, although the day before a woman easily climbed to her floor. Having a heart attack, a woman may feel very tired, there is shortness of breath after minimal activity, but there is no pain in the heart or interruptions in his work.
Treatment of female heart attack is difficult
When a man turns pale and clutches at his chest, complaining of pain, the first thing suspected is a heart attack. In most cases, an ambulance is called for him, and he is taken to the hospital where he receives the necessary treatment. In women, especially against the background of an atypical clinical picture, a similar attack can be mistaken for anything, ranging from hysteria and ending with the manifestation of menopause or asthma. If the cardiac artery is blocked, which causes ischemia and necrosis of part of the myocardium, the best thing to do is to open the affected artery as quickly as possible. But the more time passes from the onset of the attack, the worse the prognosis. In women, the diagnosis is often made very late, when a significant portion of the myocardium dies.
Some diseases are more common in women
Autoimmune inflammatory diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis, are less well-known risk factors for cardiovascular disease. These are systemic diseases affecting many organs and tissues, so inflammation can also affect the heart. Men and women with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to suffer from heart disease. The difference is that a woman has these inflammatory diseases several times more often. Experts also point out that diabetes mellitus is a known risk factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases and has a stronger effect on the heart of women.
Overweight women forming around the waist (figures in the form of “apple”) are at greater risk of heart disease, compared with more slender ladies who have full hips and buttocks. To know how overweight affects the risk of heart disease, you need to know your BMI and waist volume.When the BMI exceeds 24.9, and the waist volume is more than 95 cm, the risk of damage to the heart of a woman increases significantly.
Taking testosterone requires caution.
Some men who notice problems with intimate health, potency, libido or performance need to compensate for reduced testosterone levels with synthetic drugs. But testosterone hormone therapy causes a lot of controversy. Recent scientific evidence suggests the use of testosterone drugs may increase the risk of heart disease in a man.
In addition, experts believe that erectile dysfunction is a symptom of cardiovascular disease, until proven otherwise. If a patient turns to a urologist with a question about whether he can take sildenafil, the doctor must first determine if he has any diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Often, the patient has problems with pressure and myocardial contractility.