Women and Heart Disease

Go Red for WomenDid you know that the first Friday in February is National Wear Red Day?  The American Heart Association asks everyone to wear red to raise awareness for heart disease in women.  Created in 2004, Go RED day was designed to promote healthier lives all women.

The following information was taken from a Fox news article.

Today 1 in 3 women are affected by heart disease in the United States.  This means nearly 44 million American women are living with heart disease.  Only 1 in 5 women, however, are aware that heart disease is their greatest health risk.

Here are some common myths that we must dispel regarding women and heart disease:

  • Heart Disease is predominately a disease of men

The truth:  More women than men die of heart disease every year.  Heart disease kills more women than ALL types of cancer combined.  Nearly 90 percent of all women have at least one risk factor for heart disease.

  • Heart Disease affects men and women in the same way

The truth:  Because of the biologic and hormonal differences in men and women, heart disease develops and progresses differently.  Studies have shown that after menopause, women have an even higher risk for heart disease.

Women tend to present to healthcare providers far later in the course of the disease and often have more blockages in their arteries.  These blockages result in heart attacks, which have several commonly recognized symptoms.

Men have more typical symptoms like crushing chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, radiation of pain to the neck and jaw.

Women may have very atypical symptoms and some women have no symptoms at all.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly two-thirds of women who have sudden cardiac arrest due to heart disease have no symptoms.  It is more common for women to have more vague, non-specific symptoms, such as feelings of anxiety, dread, back pain and flu-like symptoms.  Ladies, PLEASE be your own advocate!!  Our office manager, Cristi, lost her own mother to a heart attack.  The week leading up to it, her mom had complained of “flu-like symptoms” and not feeling well.  The doctors shrugged her off.  Be loud, be annoying, and if a doctor is NOT listening to you…..FIND A NEW DOCTOR!!!

  • Women with heart disease are treated the same as men

The truth:  Women with heart disease are under-treated and underserved!  Women are not screened for and diagnosed as aggressively as men.  Again, ladies YOU MUST BE YOUR OWN BEST ADVOCATE!!!

Your Federal Way dentist, Dr. Josephine Lee, also wants you to remember the link between the health of your teeth and gums and the health of your heart.  A systemic link has been proven!!  Be sure to stay regular with your medical physicals and your dental check ups and cleanings because we love you and want to be your dentist for a very long time!


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