I was visiting my daughter over the weekend. She is a nursing student at George Washington University and she lives in the D.C. area. On her table was a copy of the current issue of the American Journal of Nursing and the article "Recognizing Myocardial Infarction in Women: A Case Study" caught my attention. I found myself confronted with an "inconvenient truth", women are just as likely to suffer from heart disease as men, based on statistics quoted from the American Heart Association, " cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women." Despite these alarming numbers many women are unaware of the risks of developing heart disease. I am glad I saw that article. I am grateful for reminders that break into my denial about my health. Because, another risk factor for developing CVD (Cardiovascular Disease) is living with diabetes.
According to an article in the American Diabetes Association Journal, August 2014, called "Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease in Older Adults: Current Status and Future Direction, .....In the US approximately one in four adults aged 65 or older has diabetes. Patients with diabetes are at very high risk for developing cardiovascular disease". For those of us who like pathophysiology- "Diabetes also has a major impact on the heart. Systolic and diastolic dysfunction and changes in coronary blood flow in the presence of diabetes... and inflammation and oxidative stress play a synergestic role".
"Gender Matters: Heart Disease Risk in Women" published in Harvard Health Publications states, "Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease for women because there are often added risk factors such as obesity hypertension and high cholesterol. Women with metabolic syndrome - large waist size, elevated blood pressure, glucose intolerance, low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides increase the chance of developing heart disease." Also, the symptoms of a heart attack are different in women then in men. Women experience the following symptoms: shortness of breath, weakness, unusual fatigue, cold sweat, dizziness, nausea and weakness in their arms. These symptoms can begin a month before a heart attack!
Unfortunately, our healthcare providers don't discuss the risks of developing CVD, they do not discuss the big picture. That is why is it important, as our own health care managers, to be informed and proactive. The next blog post will be about action-now that we know the facts, what can we do about it?
To our shared heart health!!!!!!!