Facts of LifeEndangering a woman’s Heart [Archives:2005/829/Health]

March 31 2005

By Dr. Khaled M. Nsour
[email protected]

“Heart disease is a man's disease.” Doctors believe it. Insurance companies believe it. The press believes it. The general public does too.

But you mustn't believe it, the statistical truth is: more women die of heart disease than men. Fifty years ago heart disease was virtually unheard of. Today it is the number one cause of death in America. It kills nearly 30 percent of U.S. citizens. In fact, it kills more women than all forms of cancer, chronic lung disease, pneumonia, aids, diabetes and accidents combined.

The evidence is shocking, but true. Even most doctors still do not realize that heart disease kills more women than anything else. In fact, a woman's risk can be even greater than a man's

Consider these alarming statistics:

Being only 20 pounds overweight nearly doubles a woman's risk of heart disease. This means those “few extra pounds” have far more serious cardiovascular implications for women than men.

A low level of HDL (the so-called “good” cholesterol) spells danger for women more so than for men. While the greater risk for men is a high level of LDL (the so-called “bad” cholesterol), women must pay closer attention to their DL levels.

Triglycerides are the fats that deposit around your waist. They also build up in the blood and make your blood more capable of forming plaque and thus blocking your arteries. High triglyceride levels are more dangerous for women than men. In fact, a diabetic woman with high triglycerides is 200 times more likely to develop heart disease than a non-diabetic woman with normal triglycerides.

While a man with diabetes runs a risk for heart disease two to three times above normal, women with diabetes run a much greater risk ) five to seven times greater than normal.

Women hospitalized for heart disease receive fewer diagnostic tests and procedures than men. They also have a higher rate of complications from surgical procedures.

Heart failure is a clinical diagnosis and occurs when the heart cannot maintain sufficient blood flow to the body. It is usually characterized by breathlessness and reduced exercise tolerance.

The main sign, though, is fluid retention, in the forms of pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) and peripheral edema (swollen ankles). Other signs include weight loss or gain, anorexia (loss of appetite), tachycardia (increase in heart beats), tachypnoea (abnormally fast breathing), Ascites (fluid in the abdominal cavity), abdominal discomfort, lethargy and nausea.

The prevalence of heart failure is between 3 and 20 patients per 1,000 increasing to at least 80 cases per 1,000 among those aged 75 and over as the report by (Williams; et al 2002) published in the pharmaceutical journal ( vol. 269) says. Of the 64 percent of women who died suddenly from heart attack, there were no previous symptoms. Menopause also greatly increases a woman's risk of heart disease. People who suffer from depression are three to four times more likely to die from heart disease than individuals who do not.

If you are a man reading this, please be sure the women in your life read this page carefully…