There is a broad misconception that generally men are more vulnerable to cardiac attacks. "Infact I have also read some internet trivia saying that structurally a woman's heart is more robust than a man's," says Neetali Barman a practicing cardiologist from Guwahati.The fact is women are as susceptible to heart attacks but the symptoms signaling the onset of an attack are usually different from the symptoms experienced by a man. While chest discomfort is common, they may experience other symptoms that are less associated with heart attacks including dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath. "These other discomforts include pain or discomfort in the back, jaw, stomach or both arms. Breaking out into a cold sweat and shortness of breath with or without chest pain can also precede cardiac arrest in women," says Barman. Nausea is also a common symptom.
There is a broad misconception that generally men are more vulnerable to cardiac attacksSo what are the causes of heart disease in women? "High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and a family history of cardiovascular problems is a major cause," says Barman. "Cigarette smoking and sedentary lifestyles are also risk factors," she adds. According to Barman doctors of many specialties and not just cardiologists need to work together to reach out to women of all ages inorder to apprise them of their potential risk factors. "This is because diseases and conditions that don't stem from the heart can also put a woman at risk for a cardiac arrest. For instance certain autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and some pregnancy related complications."
The proactive measures that can prevent heart diseases however are common to man and women. These include eating a healthy diet fortified with fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low in saturated fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars. Drinking in moderation, managing stress, exercising and quitting smoking will go a long way in ensuring good heart health.