The heart is extraordinary, isn’t it? It’s entirely crucial to our existence and health, yet fragile. While there have been millions poured into campaigning for heart health, most women don’t think about theirs. This isn’t a statistic. But with so much emphasis on heart health for men, as they are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack, heart health doesn’t precisely scream as being an issue for women.
Is this part of the problem, or the basis of the problem? Let’s talk about it.
Lack of Awareness
If you were to stop any woman on the street and ask them about health risks for women, you could likely expect them to answer breast cancer as a top contender. Contrary to common assumption, women are eight times more likely to die from heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.
If more women were aware of this likelihood, perhaps there would be greater efforts across the board toward prevention. Some of the other challenges that support this rocky foundation are as follows.
Little Understanding of Symptoms
Without an understanding of what the symptoms of heart disease appear as for women, detection becomes an unreliable form of protection. Symptoms include but are not limited to discomfort in the upper body, neck and abdomen, arm pain, nausea and vomiting, excess sweating, dizziness, fatigue, and trouble with digestion.
However, women experience each of these symptoms and are often unaware that it could be underlying. Women need to be more conscious of tracking their cholesterol, and blood pressure before symptoms occur at all, as well as how the effects of stress play a role in these.
Insufficient nutrition and Exercise Practices
Similar to heart health in general, a driving force for women to take care of their bodies has much more to do with how they relate to others than themselves and their optimal health. While there are plenty of companies of women’s fitness pioneers, there are much bigger and higher funded companies working to exploit women’s will to take care of their bodies for the sole reason of vanity.
Many women fall prey to meticulously marketed diet and exercise programs they can never commit to because they’re not designed for longevity, adequate, or even affordable. Many women do not have a solid understanding of diet and nutrition through the lens of protecting oneself from the disease. This leads to many women failing to engage in healthy eating practices or diet, as well as the inadequate amount or complete lack of exercise.
Over time, inactivity in conjunction with poor diet can lead to serious complications of the heart, and as women age, the risk only increases. After age 35, women are at higher risk.
This one’s a given, and thankfully a more widespread message. But with the rise of e-cigs and other cigarette alternatives, the necessity to clear these habits altogether has been cushioned by the “I’m going to quit and pick up an e-cig” mentality.
These, too, come with their respective complications and aren’t any less psychologically addicting. Psychological addiction is not nearly as acknowledged as a chemical addiction to smoking.
Overuse of alcohol is another leading danger for women and heart disease. It can raise your blood pressure, as well as provoke muscular disease of the heart.
It seems that although there are several salient components to women suffering from heart disease at such a high rate, the main challenge is a lack of awareness surrounding the topic and how it transcends into various arenas. Similar to breast cancer, detection of symptoms would serve well as a method of prevention, but may also be necessary to see changes with the other difficulties stemming from this issue.