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Heart Disease and Heart Attacks in Women

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women—1 in every 4 deaths—in the United States. And, while heart disease is just as common in women as it is in men, its signs and symptoms can be very different. Women may have more subtle signs of heart disease and also tend to develop the disease after menopause, which is often 10 years later than men.

At the NorthShore Cardiovascular Institute, our team works to prevent the onset of heart disease in both women and men. Our experts understand that a cookie-cutter approach to cardiovascular care is not the most effective option. Instead, our team takes a multispecialty approach to care for and properly prevent, predict, educate and manage heart disease in women. We pride ourselves in offering specialized cardiac care and services for women to best treat their unique needs.

At NorthShore we have a long history of tailoring our cardiovascular service offers to women. Our team is well versed in identifying the risk factors, symptoms and treatment options for women with cardiovascular conditions that will lead to best outcomes.

Symptoms of Heart Disease in Women

The most common symptom of a heart attack in women is not always chest pain or discomfort. Women can often be experiencing a heart attack with little to no chest pain at all. Some women may experience chest pain and discomfort that comes and goes.

Some of the most common heart attack symptoms other than chest pain or discomfort for women include:

  • Discomfort in the jaw, neck, shoulders and back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea, dizziness or sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the arms

Women are more likely to overlook heart attack symptoms as either symptoms caused by another illness or stress.

While signs of a heart attack in women may be more subtle, this does not mean they are any less serious or life-threatening. If you think you or someone you know is experiencing a heart attack, seek immediate medical attention. Do not drive yourself to the hospital or have someone else drive you.

Prevention of Heart Disease

The best way to prevent heart disease is to lead a healthy life. At NorthShore, we encourage our patients to adopt healthy lifestyles through diet and exercise to promote overall heart health and wellness. It is also important to be aware of your family medical history, as this information may help determine if you are at an increased risk for heart disease.

Through our participation in innovative research and staying up to date on the latest evidence-based recommendations and publications from the American Heart Association, our team of cardiovascular experts is well equipped to help women prevent, detect and manage their heart disease.

For more information about women’s heart health services or to schedule an appointment, please call 847.86.HEART.