Are you completely aware of your risk for heart disease? Well, you should be. Every woman have at least one risk factor of the said disease – diabetes, high blood pressure, lack of physical activity, high cholesterol, obesity or smoking – and yet a lot of them are misinformed about their risk of developing a heart disease, as well as the dangers it brings. Don’t be among those women by raising your awareness and busting the common myths about heart disease among women.
Myth 1: More women are diagnosed with breast cancer than heart disease.
Cardiovascular disease (stroke and heart attack) kills more women yearly and is deadlier than all forms of cancer combined. Breast cancer is a perceived higher risk, but it’s not really true. According to a study conducted by some health experts in Singapore, heart disease kills seven times more than breast cancer – one in 31 women die from breast cancer, but one in every three deaths is caused by heart disease. Roughly, that’s one death per minute.
Myth 2: Heart disease only affects older women.
While it’s true that the symptoms and diagnosis of heart disease are more prevalent during a woman’s menopausal years, a group of cardiologist in Singapore explained that having blood pressure problems and higher body fat also puts younger women at risk of the disease.
Fortunately, there are two instances in a woman’s life that allows her to increase her awareness on the disease. The first time is during her pregnancy period. Women who develop preeclampsia or gestational diabetes are often subjected to certain lifestyle modifications that can impact their heart disease risk later on. The second opportunity is at their menopausal stage where they visit their doctor because of signs and symptoms, thus making way for a new health discussion and examination to be done.
Myth 3: The symptoms of heart attack are the same in men and women.
The common symptoms of heart attack, such as pain in the chest, arm, jaw or throat, are quite common in both men and women. However, non-chest pain like shortness of breath and fatigue are more common among women than in men. In fact, these symptoms occur in 38 percent of women and are usually related with stress and emotion.
A group of cardiologist in Singapore also found that women often associate these symptoms with other causes (age and busy schedules at work and at home) and don’t realize that they might already be at risk for heart attack. So if you ever notice changes like not having enough breath or energy to perform your usual activities, consider it as a sign of heart trouble and bring it to your doctor’s attention as soon as possible.
Myth 4: You are off limits from the gym if you have been diagnosed with heart disease.
Contrary to what you may believe, men and women diagnosed with heart disease are in fact encouraged to exercise regularly to prevent the disease from getting worse. However, before starting a more active lifestyle, ensure that your harley cardiac doctor from Singapore has given you the go signal to do so. Health experts in Singapore emphasize that you should only workout once you have been assessed by a doctor. If you’re taking the right heart disease medications and you can manage your condition, then you can exercise.
Myth 5: If it is common in your family to have heart disease, then you will develop it later on in life.
Fortunately, this belief is only a myth. By just following the risk factor guidelines provided by your Singapore cardiologist, eating a proper diet, exercising regularly and quitting smoking, you’ll be able to reduce the risk of heart attack. Adopting a healthy lifestyle will significantly reduce the risk even if the disease runs in the family.
Myth 6: Women who are physically fit won’t develop heart disease.
Even if you consider yourself as a workout fiend, your risk of developing heart disease won’t be completely eliminated. Factors like eating habits, smoking and cholesterol levels can counterbalance your other healthy habits. You can be thin and still have high cholesterol levels. This is why health experts recommend getting your cholesterol checked as soon as you reach 20 years old – or earlier if your family has a history of developing heart disease. While you’re at it, make sure to also keep an eye on your blood pressure during your next check-up.
Myth 7: Using birth control pills won’t affect your heart disease risk.
Using oral contraceptives won’t raise the risk for heart disease for most women, but for a small part of the population, taking birth control pills increases their chance of developing blood clots and experiencing heart attack. If you’re over 40 years old and is living an unhealthy lifestyle, then using oral contraceptives might dramatically increase your chances of having a heart attack.
Myth 8: You won’t have the disease since you’re not experiencing any of its symptoms.
Did you know that 64 percent of women who die of coronary heart disease did not experience any symptoms before they were diagnosed with the disease? Since these symptoms greatly vary between men and women, they are often misunderstood. Our minds have been conditioned that the tell-tale sign of heart attack is feeling extreme pain in the chest. In reality, however, women are more prone to symptoms like vomiting, shortness of breath and jaw or back pains. Other signs that women should look out for include light-headedness, extreme fatigue and pain in the upper abdomen or lower chest.
If you ever experience any of the said symptoms, do visit your Singapore cardiologist as soon as possible and inform him or her about what you’re experiencing.
Being informed about heart disease and knowing your risk factors is what will give you the opportunity to keep yourself heart-healthy. So ensure that you keep the aforementioned information in mind and that you get regular check-ups from your heart specialist.