Early Signs & Symptoms of Heart Disease in Women

More dangerous than cancer, heart disease in women poses potentially fatal risks. Thankfully, it can be prevented through early detection and lifestyle changes. Younger women need to be on guard as well. The manifestations and effects are different in women--thus, proper information and care must be followed for better heart health.


Women are at risk of heart disease as they get older. An estimated 60 percent of deaths are related to heart ailments, as compared to cancers. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women 65 years and older. Younger women should also be wary, as heart diseases also figure significantly among those aged 25 to 45. Knowing the risk factors and symptoms can help prevent the onset of heart ailments.

Early Warnings

Some of the most common early signs of heart disease in women usually go unnoticed or are set aside as indicating common sicknesses. These include unusual fatigue days or weeks before a heart attack. Along with such signs, there can be sleep disturbances, indigestion, anxiety, shortness of breath and chest discomfort.

Acute Symptoms

Medical findings show that while men suffer from constricting pain in the chest, women experience pain in different parts of the body. Signs of heart distress can include tightness; a burning sensation; and pressure in the upper back, shoulders, neck, arms and (sometimes) the jaw or throat. Tingling sensations, dizziness and cold sweats can also occur.

Risk Factors

The chance of heart disease is further heightened if a woman has any of the risk factors, including high blood pressure, obesity, depression, high cholesterol, extreme stress and diabetes. Women who smoke and have sedentary lifestyles are also possible candidates for heart diseases. The sudden slowdown of estrogen apparent in menopause-aged women can also affect the small blood vessels, thus increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Increasing Chances of Survival

Rethinking some lifestyle habits can be a start to better health management. Adding more physical activities in one's life is key. Moderate exercise, like brisk walking, jogging and biking, can promote a healthy heart. Maintaining a good weight, quitting smoking and eating a low-cholesterol diet ensure a fit lifestyle to help keep heart ailments away.

Women with high blood pressure are given prescription heart medicines, which need to be taken accordingly to be effective. Making regular visits to the cardiologist is the best way to monitor the health of one's heart, along with a good nutrition and exercise plan.

LaTasha Favors

LaTasha Favors has been writing professionally since 2008. She specializes in travel- and health-related topics and has published articles on various websites, including Search-costa-rica.com and MyFrenchRealEstate.com.