Women May Not Be Aware of These Heart Health Risks

authordebStarred Page By authordeb, 18th Nov 2016 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Women's Health

Each year 237,000 women have heart attacks. Most of us know the common signs and causes such as heredity and smoking, but there are other things in which can cause a heart attack that you may not realize.


In the United States 435,000 women have a heart attack each year; 83,000 are under the age of 65,35,000 are under the age of 55 and the average age of having a heart attack is 70.4 years.

Among women who have heart attacks 42% will die within one year compared to 24% of men. Women who are under the age of 50 who have a heart attack have twice the risk of it being fatal compared to men. Each year 237,000 women have heart attacks.

We are all familiar with family history, diet, lifestyle factors can cause a heart attack, but there are those uncommon factors women may not be aware of. Below are some of them.


According to a study presented March 25th, 2012 at the American College of Cardiology’s 61st annual Scientific Session, heart attacks during pregnancy are more severe, lead to more complications and often occur for different reasons that are not commonly seen in the non-pregnant community.

Researchers conducted an analysis of 150 cases published in literature since 2005 or were conducted by researchers of this analysis since 2005 and builds upon previous analysis of another 228 cases prior to 2005.

The team found most pregnant did not have typical heart attack risk factors such as diabetes and high blood pressure. However, their heart attacks were more serious and the death rate among these women was seven percent which is two to three times higher of non-pregnant patients.

The changes in the body due to pregnancy and increases blood volume being pumped throughout the body can increase a woman’s risk for heart attack during pregnancy and 12 weeks after delivery.

The likely hood of having a heart attack during pregnancy is low estimated to occur in 1 in 16,000 deliveries -- this risk is still three to four times higher in pregnant women than in non-pregnant women of the same age, noted Dr. Uri Elkayam, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.


Women who suffer with migraines have a higher risk of stroke or heart attacks compared to women without migraines.

Participants were between the ages of 25 – 42 free from cardiovascular disease at start of the study Among the participants 17,531 reported a physician's diagnosis of migraine. Between 1989 and 2011 1,392 had cardiovascular events and 223 died of this result.

The risk of developing cardiovascular events was shown to be 50% higher in women with a diagnosis of migraine. When compared to women unaffected by the condition, the risk of developing a heart attack was 39% higher for women with migraine, the risk of having a stroke 62% higher, and that of developing angina 73% higher,” according to Professor Kurth from1Institute of Public Health, Charité – Universitätsmedizin, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston.

Findings of the Women’s Health Study indicate that migraine with aura and an increased vascular risk profile resulted in a higher risk of incident heart attack.


Women with diabetes have a 34% higher risk for a heart attack according to new research presented at the 2015 annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Stockholm.

Researchers gathered data from all Tuscan hospitals from 2005-2012 and gathered information from a data-set containing the registry of all known diabetic patients from Tuscany.

The effects of diabetes were measured separately in men and women throughout the eight year study. After adjusting for age, the diabetes related excess risk, overall was significantly higher in women than men who were hospitalized for acute heart attack compared to men (2.63 times increased risk vs. 1.96 times for men, giving a relative increased risk of 34% in women).

After classifying by age decades, diabetic women hospitalized for acute heat attack had a significantly higher excess risk than diabetic men, along the entire age interval between decade 45-54 years up to age 75-84 years, with the highest difference found in age class 45-54 years (increased risk 5.83 times in women vs. 2.88 in men). In patients hospitalized for IS and CHF diabetic women had an excess risk higher than men.

Calcium Supplements

A study published in the British Medical Journal (2011) re-evaluated if calcium supplements increase the risk of heart attack and stroke in women. Dr. Mark Boland and his colleagues from Auckland, Aberdeen, and Dartmouth Medical School looked at a large database from the Women’s Health Initiative and had found there was a modest increase for heart attacks and strokes for women in the initiative who were started on calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Women who were taking calcium and vitamin D supplements as part of the study had a 13 to 22 percent risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

The researchers concluded Calcium supplements with or without vitamin D modestly increase the risk of cardiovascular events, especially the risk of heart attacks. And suggest a reassessment of calcium supplements to manage osteoporosis is warranted. It is best to get calcium through diet by consuming foods high in calcium.

Endometriosis (abnormal growth of uterine tissue)

A study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal, this year showed women with endometriosis, especially women 40 and younger have a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.

Researchers reviewed the records of 116,430 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II. Endometriosis was diagnosed using surgical examinations in 11,903 women by end of follow-up.

During 20 years of follow-up, researchers found that compared to women without endometriosis, women with the condition had 1.53 times more likely to have a heart attack.

Signs of Heart Attack in Women

Common heart attack symptoms among women:

• Chest pain or discomfort. Chest pain is the most common heart attack symptom, but some women may experience it differently than men. ...
• Pain in your arm(s), back, neck, or jaw. ...
• Stomach pain. ...
• Shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheadedness. ...
• Sweating. ...
• Fatigue.

Not everyone gets all of those symptoms. If you have chest discomfort, especially if you also have one or more of the other signs, call 911 immediately.

Hard to Recognize Signs of Heart Attack in Women

Shortness of Breath
According to Steinbaum, director of The Heart and Vascular Institute at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, women often struggle to breathe a few weeks before experiencing a heart attack.
Back pain
Irregular pain in the lower or upper back can indicate stress to the heart muscle, Dr. Steinbaum said.
Jaw Pain
Pain or discomfort in the jaw.
Flu like symptoms
Flu-like symptoms are often reported weeks and days before a heart attack. In fact, as Steinbaum explains, TV personality Rosie O’Donnell reportedly regurgitated a few times before she experienced a heart attack in early 2012.


Women’s Heart Foundation

Elkayam U, Jalnapurkar S, Kealey A. PREGNANCY ASSOCIATED MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION: CONTEMPORARY EXPERIENCE IN 150 CASES BETWEEN 2005 AND 2011. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2012;59(13s1):E552. doi:10.1016/S0735-1097(12)60553-1.
Kurth Tobias, Winter Anke C, Eliassen A Heather, Dushkes Rimma, Mukamal Kenneth J, Rimm Eric B et al. Migraine and risk of cardiovascular disease in women: prospective cohort study BMJ 2016; 353 :i2610

Diabetologia (2008) 51: 1. doi:10.1007/s00125-008-1117-6

Bolland Mark J, Grey Andrew, Avenell Alison, Gamble Greg D, Reid Ian R. Calcium supplements with or without vitamin D and risk of cardiovascular events: reanalysis of the Women’s Health Initiative limited access dataset and meta-analysis BMJ 2011; 342 :d2040

Association, A. H. (2013, April 24). Hard-to-recognize heart attack symptoms -- go red for women. Retrieved November 18, 2016, from Symptoms of Heart Disease in Women,

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Meet the author

author avatar authordeb
Author of the Love and Laughter series
Alternative Medicine Practitioner
Freelance Health Write
Works with Media companies for interviews and articles such as Howie Mandel for Afib,

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