Heart Health: What’s gender got to do with it? 

When it comes to skill, there isn’t anything a man can do that a woman can’t. But being anatomically different, men and women can experience the same conditions in a different manner. 

Take a look at how gender affects heart health

1. Hormones
Women have higher levels of estrogen, which affects the cardiovascular system, among other things.For instance, estrogen has an impact on cholesterol levels, increasing HDL and decreasing LDL, which translates to better heart health.

Additionally, it helps vessels in the body to relax, which increases blood flow and disarms the damaging free radicals in the blood. As a result, it can help better protect women against heart disease.

2. Women are at risk for heart attack in their later years
Once menopause strikes, estrogen levels drop. Women then must be especially vigilant in their cholesterol intake. During this change in a woman’s life phase, seeking preventive cardiac care is especially important. Annual cardiac checkups can help prevent heart disease and instruct both men and women on how to keep their heart in optimal health.

3. Heart attack symptoms differ between men and women
While men typically experience heart attack symptoms that are more sharp and sudden - such as a sharp pain in the chest – for women, the symptoms emerge more gradually and less noticeably. In some cases, women may simply feel overly fatigued or light-headed, without experiencing the telltale signs of a heart attack such as pressure in the chest.
If a woman does experience pressure, it is usually in her lower chest, right above the abdomen, or as tightness in the upper back, all of which can sometimes be confused with digestive pains.

Ladies and gentlemen, take preventive measures.
Although a healthy diet and regular exercise lower your risk of heart disease, genetics play a role as well. The only way to know your heart’s health is to consult with a cardiologist. Regardless of your gender, it is important to come in for routine screenings to assess your heart health and make a plan to maintain or improve it. By the time you start noticing any symptoms, it could be too late. Schedule an appointment today at North Suffolk Cardiology by dialing 631-941-2000.  

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