Matters of the Heart: Men vs. Women

Put in a tough day at work with lunch on the run.  Make a quick dinner for the family.  Go to an organization meeting and run errands on the way home.  Discuss household finances before finally going to bed. 

Backache, heartburn, chest discomfort and shortness of breath—those are just normal feelings. Or are they? Could it be the start of a heart attack?

Chest pressure is the most common symptom of heart attack for both men and women.  However, women may experience some additional symptoms that men do not, such as shortness of breath, jaw pain, headaches, nausea, fatigue and stomach upset.

Because of the varying nature of symptoms, it is important to be educated on the symptoms and risk factors for heart disease. 

Traditional risk factors for both men and women include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Diabetes

For women, there are other factors that may play a bigger role in the development of heart disease, including:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Smoking
  • Low levels of estrogen after menopause
  • Metabolic syndrome (a combination of fat around your abdomen, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high triglycerides)

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