COVID-19 has dominated the medical space for the last year. As we continued to learn more about the coronavirus, we learned that people with underlying conditions like diabetes and obesity are more susceptible to contracting the virus.
Those with heart disease are at a higher risk for more severe outcomes with COVID-19 and, according to American Heart Association’s GO RED for Women, cardiovascular diseases continue to be a woman’s greatest health threat.
As Heart Health Month wraps up, it’s important to take away knowledge on the signs and symptoms of women’s heart disease, and how to better monitor heart health year-round.
The Women’s Heart Association reports that more than 8 million women are living in the United States with heart disease, and more than 435,000 have heart attacks annually. In fact, cardiovascular disease claims the lives of 1 in 3 women. That’s approximately one woman every minute!
Heart disease symptoms in women are less pronounced, some only feel flu-like symptoms such as sudden onset of extreme weakness and lightheadedness.
Many women don’t even experience chest pain as a symptom. Other common symptoms women may experience include shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting and back or jaw pain.
Since heart disease continues to be a serious condition that kills more people every year than all forms of cancer combined, according to Dr. Rachel Bond, cardiologist, Women’s Heart Health & Prevention specialist and board member with the American Heart Association Phoenix Division, its especially important for women to pay attention to any symptoms and seek immediate help.
Because those with underlying conditions are at a higher risk for COVID-19, many women are avoiding going to emergency rooms, or calling 911, when necessary. However, hospitals are following protocols to sanitize, socially distance and keep coronavirus patients away from others.
Many now have separate emergency rooms, operating rooms and ICUs for people with COVID-19 and for people without.
Calling 911 immediately is still the best chance for surviving or saving a life when one is experiencing signs and symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. Even during the pandemic, it is safe for anyone to go to the hospital.
Women who face risk factors for heart disease, such as physical inactivity, smoking, obesity, diabetes, or family history, should monitor their heart health by routinely checking their blood pressure and blood glucose levels.
Advanced heart health testing may also be beneficial in some cases.
Cardiovascular tests can help women and men alike uncover early warning signs of heart disease and other health risks that routine tests can’t detect.
Advanced heart health offerings from Sonora Quest Laboratories include tests that measure inflammation and other key markers that may mean you are at risk for heart disease.
Results from screening tests make understanding your health simpler and empowers you to make proactive choices to better care for your heart.
As poor heart health can have lasting and chronic impacts on women’s health, and compounding effects when present with COVID-19, it is imperative to make sure one’s heart health is good today in order for a better tomorrow.
Editor’s Note: Christina Noble is chief growth officer at Sonora Quest and board member of the American Heart Association Go Red for Women Phoenix division.