Blood vessels- one large study recently found that women more often develop plaque in smaller arteries, while men develop plaque in larger arteries. Smaller artery blockages do not show up on an angiogram as well as larger arteries. The angiogram (the standard test for artery blockages) was developed to find blockages in larger arteries. That's because for many years, doctors thought that men were at greater risk for heart disease than women.
Heart attack- researchers recently found that women notice symptoms earlier than men do. Men usually have symptoms right before or during a heart attack. But women can have symptoms for weeks before the heart attack. Here are the five most common symptoms that women notice a month or more before the heart attack:
Just before or during a heart attack, men and women also have different symptoms. The common "traditional" warning signs of a heart attack are from research done mostly on men. Now researchers have outlined some of the most common symptoms for women too:
"Traditional" Symptoms during a Heart Attack
Women's Symptoms During a Heart Attack
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It's good to know all the common heart attack symptoms. This knowledge might someday help you identify symptoms in yourself, your partner, your family, or your friends.
What can you do
You can help take control of your health by knowing what risk factor you can change. You can't change your age, gender, age, or genetic makeup. But you can modify the following:
Don't discount the impact that lifestyle factors can have on your health. According to the National Institutes of Health, a healthy lifestyle can help lower your heart disease risk by 82%. The Risk Factors section has more information about these lifestyle factors- look under Things You Can Change.
How can heredity affect your health?
Maybe you inherited your eyes, your hair color, or your smile from you parents. It's possible you also inherited the risk or heart and blood vessel disease.
Heredity can affect the following conditions:
High Cholesterol- some families have a genetic condition that raises blood cholesterol or triglycerides levels. A cholesterol test measure the amount of cholesterol, triglycerides, and other fatty substances in your blood. High cholesterol and triglyceride levels can increase your chances of heart attack or stroke.
High Blood Pressure or Diabetes- high blood pressure or diabetes can also run in families. Both conditions increase your chances of having heart or blood vessel disease.
Heart Attack- if your brother, father, or grandfather had a heart attack before age 55-or your sister, mother, or grandmother had one before the age of 65-you may be at risk too.
Stroke- your risk of a stroke is higher if a parent, grandparent, sister, or brother had a stroke.
What can you do
First of all, ask your older relatives about the health history of your immediate family. For example - ask your grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles. It's important to have the right information and share your family medical history with your doctor who can then decide the best treatment for you.
Most people with a family history of heart and blood vessel disease have at least one other risk factor. Often, it's a risk factor they can change. You can't change your age, gender, or genetic makeup. But you can modify the following:
Don't discount the impact that lifestyle factors can have on your health. According to the National Institute of Health, a healthy lifestyle can help lower your heart disease risk by 82%.