Heart Health: Understanding the symptoms of heart issues in women

Women’s heart diseases can often go underdiagnosed, according to health officials

February is American Heart Month, and Methodist health is spotlighting women’s heart health.

Often, women’s heart diseases can go underdiagnosed, according to Dr. Jacqueline Schwartz, Cardiac Electrophysiologist with Methodist Hospital Texsan.

Symptoms of heart issues in women may present as jaw pain, shoulder pain, and headaches. Schwartz says women as young as 35 should look for changes in their health.

“There are many misconceptions. Patients may think it’s a heart murmur, but it’s a symptom of coronary artery disease,” Schwartz said.

Other heart issues, like atrial fibrillation and supraventricular tachycardia, have symptoms that include palpitations, chest discomfort, and shortness of breath with exertion.

Atrial fibrillation in particular is important to diagnose in females, Schwartz said. Although women have a lower incidence and prevalence of atrial fibrillation, they have a poor prognosis, which includes an increased risk of stroke, heart failure, and death.

Maintaining a healthy diet and daily exercise, even if that’s just 30 minutes on the treadmill, can help with prevention.

For women experiencing heart issues, there are treatment options. Some of these options include lifestyle changes, medication, or surgery options such as conventional surgery or minimally invasive robotic surgery, Schwartz said.

You can visit sahealth.com to take your heart health risk assessment.

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