It’s a known fact that women are at higher risk of heart disease as compared to men. It is also a fact that the risk of cardiovascular disease in females increases with their age. As they age, they stay at a greater risk of complicated heart disease. In fact, heart disease has been the prime cause of death among women who are around 50 years of age. To be more precise, the risk factor surges after 55 years of age. This is due to the fact that around this age, women approach or reach menopause. Over the years, a large number of women in the United States have died because of cardiovascular disease. This equals approximately one death every minute. So, you can see how dangerous and life-threatening heart disease is.
Menopause is the major factor that causes the risk of heart disease in women. This is a normal phenomenon in every woman’s life. It consists of certain changes that happen to a woman prior to or following menopause. While the woman approaches the stage, her ovaries over that period of time create less estrogen, which is a female hormone. This leads to certain physical changes as well as changes in the menstrual cycle.
The common symptoms of heart disease in women above 50 are:
- Discomfort in the chest
Women having a previous history of heart attack or blocked artery can feel chest discomfort like pressure in the chest, tightness, or mild pain. This discomfort lasts for a few minutes until it disappears.
- Heartburn, stomach pain, and nausea
Women over 50 often have these symptoms. In case you detect any of the above symptoms along with indigestion, immediately rush to the hospital.
- Arm pain and dizziness
This is a classic heart disease symptom among women in their 50s. This is a pain that almost paralyzes the left portion of your body starting from the chest and proceeding towards the arm. Many times, you also start feeling dizzy and lose your balance.
- Tiredness and snoring
Women above a certain age can also face tiredness and can get exhausted very easily. Snoring at night is also a common problem related to heart disease.
- Irregular heartbeat and sweating
Irregular heartbeats, swollen feet and ankles, as well as excessive sweating are considered to be the common symptoms of heart disease in women.
Risk factors for heart disease in women over 50
The traditional risk factors of heart disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. However, the risk factors that are most common in women over 50 years of age are:
Depression and mental stress, which affect a woman’s heart more as compared to men.
Metabolic syndrome is another risk factor which is a combination of high BP, high triglycerides, high blood sugar, and accumulation of fat around the abdomen.
Diabetes is another risk factor raising the likelihood of cardiovascular disease.
Smoking as well as lack of physical activity is a common risk factor that triggers heart disease in women in their 50s.
Since 2001, Dr. Alexander G. Salerno has led Salerno Medical Associates in East Orange, New Jersey. Dr. Alexander Salerno focuses largely on urban communities and on delivering patient education about both medical and behavioral health issues.