Saturday, February 17, 2007

Heart Disease


   I did read some interesting articles yesterday.  One was about women's heart problems.  Now I work on a heart floor and found this interesting but it is something all women should know.

   Did you know worldwide Cardiovascular Disease causes 8.6 million deaths among woman making it the number 1 killer of women!

    CVD kills nearly 12 times as many American women then Breast Cancer!

     The CVD rate has risen slightly over the last 2 decades while it has declined steadily in men.

   CVD causes 1 in every 2.6 female deaths ( compared to 1 in 30 deaths from breast cancer).

    In 2003 3 million women had CVD ( Coronary Vascular Disease)  Of these 6 million had Coronary Heart Disease ( CHD) and 3.1 million suffered stroke.

    CHD accounts for the majority of CVD deaths in women.  

    Nearly  two-thirds of women who die suddenly from CHD had no previously recognized symptoms.

    Within 6 years of a recognized heart attack, 35% of women have another MI, 11% have a stroke, and 6 % experience sudden cardiac death.

    Heart disease should be on the international women's health agenda- but its not.  Although it kills more women then all types of cancer, HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB, not a single international aid agency funds programs related to women's heart disease and stroke.

    A lot of this is lack of risk awareness.  Also women don't have the same symptoms as men.  We are misdiagnosed more often when we are having heart attacks.  The crushing chest pain going down the left arm, the shortness of breath, profuse sweating associated with men's heart attack symptoms are strangely absent in most women.  In one study only 30% of women reported any chest pain and acute chest pain was absent in 43%.  Which even today causes many doctors to not take her symptoms seriously.  So many women are dismissed home to suffer their heart attacks there.

   So what are some of the warning signs women should look out for?

   Unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances, shortness of breath, indigestion, or anxiety.  Also when did the symptoms start?  Women commonly start to experience symptoms up to a month before they have a heart attack.

    Another thing to watch out for.  If your symptoms fail to respond to treatment.  Some women are misdiagnosed with anxiety, depression, or a GI disorder.

   Are you taking a hormone replacement drug?  That may increase your risk.

   Do you have risk factors?  Diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity?  Diabetic women have cardiovascular death risk up to 8 times more then diabetic men.

  Another thing, woman with heart disease seem to be treated with less aggression then men.  Why is that?  Most studies done on heart disease are on men's heart disease.  We are twice as likely to die from our heart disease then men, TWICE.

   OK so what should you do?

   Get a checkup

   Start moving, walk jog or march 30 minutes a day, rain or shine.

   Quit smoking.

  Lose a pound or two.

   Cut out the salt.

   And last but not least know the symptoms.  Be aggressive in getting the care you need,  make sure they completely rule out heart disease as a problem before they diagnose you with something else. 

    I have had women who's only symptom was a sore elbow.  One lady felt dizzy every time she stood, another lady just didn't have her usual pep.  It was harder for her to do her regular chores.  She had been dismissed as getting older.  Be assertive.  And be good to your heart,.

   So that is my lecture for today.  It is the month that we have designated as Women's heart awareness month.  Be good to your heart and it will be good to you.

  Most of the facts were gotten from American Nurse Today.  They had an excellent article that was begging to be shared.  Because you know what?  I see alot of women and they are usually seen after their heart attacks.  Lets make that before, lets get them treated before the damage.  We are changing it around at our hospital, make sure yours does the same.  Women are not equal when it comes to this.



kirkbyj05 said...

I'm on high blood pressure pills and trying to loose weight because of borderline diabetes so I will take your information very seriously Julie.   My family doctor already makes me check my blood pressure at home regularly incase I need my medicine adjusting. I take quite a lot of pills for that already.  The highest was 202/103 but the pills keep that low now.  Thank God.
I had no idea the fatality rate for women was so high!  I have a friend who has just recently suffered a stroke and she is in her early fifties. She also has been diagnosed with diabetes and has now slimmed right down quite fast.  It sounds quite a sneaky health problem.  Not knowing sometimes until it is too late is quite a scary thing.  Hmmm!   Jeanie

lanurseprn said...

Very informative Julie. Great entry. Thank you!

jckfrstross said...

great entry:) enjoy your weekend


candlejmr said...

Great entry...and great suggestions!


xxroxymamaxx said...

Wow, amazing.  Thanks for the info, very interesting.   Love ya, Shelly

innxdoor said...

Thank you so much for sharing that information. It really made me sit down and think hard about changing my routines and making time for "myself" instead of everyone else around me. Am class 2 diab and also taking bp meds so I can use the walking, and I am going to save your info as a reference when I need it. I've been thru the anxiety, they told me to avoid stress, I went thru the stomach problems and they ended up taking out my gallbladder, it seems they can put a name on what is wrong but what is really wrong is that they don't take the "time" anymore to really do a good exam with a correct diagnosis! TY your words are really appreciated. :))))))))))) Doreen

jlocorriere05 said...

Thanks for this informative entry Julie. Heart disease seems to be a big problem these days. Jeannette xx  

springangel235 said...

Great info...women listen up!!!