February is American Heart Month, Sponsored by the American Heart Association
Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the United States. Although people often associate heart disease with the male members of the population, heart disease is the number one cause of fatalities in both men and women alike! According to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, heart disease and cancer bypass all other causes of death by a long shot for both males and females, each with over 15% percentage points more than the third leading cause of death.
When people think of heart disease, they picture a heart attack: an abrupt, acute onset of severe pain and pressure in the chest, arms, back, neck, or abdomen. This onset of symptoms is frequently observed in men, but for women the symptoms of a heart attack might not be so glaringly obvious.
What is Heart Disease?
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, coronary heart disease—often simply called heart disease—is the main form of heart disease. It is a disorder of the blood vessels of the heart that can lead to heart attack. A heart attack happens when an artery becomes blocked, preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart. Heart disease is one of several cardiovascular diseases, which are diseases of the heart and blood vessel system.
What Are The Symptoms of Heart Attack in Women?
For women, the symptoms of a heart attack can be less severe. They can involve
some type of pain, discomfort, or pressure, but that is not always the case. Women are much more likely to experience a heart attack that has no severe symptoms or chest pain. And, sometimes, women may have a heart attack without chest pain. According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms that are more likely to persist in a female heart attack include:
- Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in one or both arms
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Unusual fatigue
Additionally, women’s symptoms are seen to occur more frequently when women are resting (as opposed to exercise-induced heart attacks), or even when they’re asleep. Mental stress also may trigger heart attack symptoms in women.
I’m A Woman. Am I At Risk of Having a Heart Attack?
Maybe, and the risk increases as you age. Several risk factors affect both men and women, but the research indicates that other factors having a strong influence on the occurrence of heart disease in women:
- Pregnancy complications.
- Mental stress and depression.
Did You Say Mental Stress and Depression?
Yes– you heard us right. Women’s overall well-being is strongly influenced by their mental health and their ability to control their stress level. Women’s hearts are affected by stress and depression more than men’s. For women and men alike, stress, the inability to relax, and depression make it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow recommended treatment.
So How Can Chiropractic Care, Massage Therapy, and Mental Health Improve My Heart Health?
The good news for women is that there are many therapies they can utilize to combat the risk factors for heart disease. Those therapies include anything that can improve physical and mental health, such as regular chiropractic and massage therapy from a licensed massage therapist. Women can significantly improve the quality of their life by managing their physical and mental health.
Here at Align Chiropractic and Massage, we work hand-in-hand with women who are looking to elevate their physical and mental well-being. With chiropractic care and massage therapy, women can learn to improve their physical and mental health, love their hearts, and ultimately reduce their risk of heart disease later in life.