Healthy Lifestyle Now, Healthy Heart Later

Posted: February 26, 2012 by jerkmag in CRISP -- health, VAULT -- archives

Let me preface this by saying, it’s very unlikely that we, as college aged women, will suffer from a heart attack. That being said, it is quite concerning that younger women are experiencing heart attacks more frequently than ever before. Even more concerning – those women don’t know that they’re experiencing a heart attack.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, nearly 15 percent of women died of a heart attack while only 10 percent of men died of the same condition. Even more worrisome: 42 percent of women were likely to experience a heart attack without experiencing any chest pain, compared to 31 percent of men.

The main component for these differences in heart attack fatalities and symptoms is mainly age, noticeable in those under the age of 55 (think your parents, rather than yourself).

The cause for such a gender different presents itself in the different symptoms men and women experience with heart attacks. Men are much more likely than women to experience actual chest pain during a heart attack than women. Rather than chest pain, popular heart attack symptoms in women include: fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, dizziness or lightheadedness, cold sweats, and pain or numbness in the jaw, arms, stomach or back.

The easiest way for women to be aware of the possibility of a heart attack is to keep their cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar in check (this goes for men, too). And although the average 20-year-old doesn’t have to worry about this right now, it’s always a good idea to start keeping track of those body stats early, to make it a habit for later in life. It’s good idea to adopt a healthy lifestyle early on, as well, since 80 percent of cardiac events could have been prevented if those women had made good life choices like a healthy diet, and exercise routine.

—Amber Brenza

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