BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) –  Cardiovascular health has long been a major concern in the United States, and in more recent years, physicians have been encouraging women to take extra care when it comes to this aspect of health and wellness.

Heart attack statistics

It’s estimated that every year, 3,200,000 U.S. women suffer a myocardial infarction (or heart attack), with 213,572 U.S. women dying from coronary artery disease.

Local statistics also suggest a need to be aware of heart health. 

According to a report from the Louisiana Department of Health, in 2019, rates of heart disease and stroke were 23.8% higher in Louisiana than the U.S. average, and Louisiana ranks 41st in the nation for rates of cardiovascular disease diagnoses.

So, what are some of the symptoms that a woman who is suffering from a heart attack may experience? And, what can be done to maintain heart health? 

Heart attack symptoms women may experience

According to The Mayo Clinic, heart attacks in women may be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain, pressure or discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes or comes and goes.
  • A feeling of extreme pressure or tightness 
  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or upper belly (abdomen) discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in one or both arms
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Heartburn (indigestion)

The Mayo Clinic adds that the symptoms listed above may be vague and not as noticeable as the crushing chest pain often associated with heart attacks and that in comparison with men, women tend to have symptoms more often when resting, or even when asleep.

It goes on to say that emotional stress can play a role in triggering heart attack symptoms in women.

How to maintain heart health

Steps to maintain one’s cardiovascular health, based on information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are found below:

  • Eat right– Maintain a healthy diet by limiting salt, sugar, and alcohol intake. In addition to this, make a practice of consuming foods that are high in fiber and low in saturated fats and trans fat.
  • Maintain a healthy weight– People with overweight or obesity have a higher risk for heart disease. Carrying extra weight can put extra stress on the heart and blood vessels.
  • Exercise regularly– Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. For adults, the Surgeon General recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking or bicycling, every week. Children and adolescents should get 1 hour of physical activity every day.

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