How do you recognize cardiovascular disease? Most people think of acute signals, such as chest pain and pain between the shoulder blades. In practice, however, it appears that women can have completely different complaints. The danger of this is that the signals are so vague that the clinical picture is not recognized or is recognized too late by both doctors and patients.
It is actually a strange situation. Women are more often victims of cardiovascular disease than men. But doctors look at the “male” standard when complaints occur. Especially because research into cardiovascular disease has mostly been conducted in men. Women are treated late or not at all, resulting far too often in death.
There is yet another danger lurking. Heart complaints in women are very similar to menopausal complaints. In addition, heart failure usually occurs during or after the menopause.
So it is not surprising that women are occasionally receiving a misdiagnosis. For which symptoms should women be alert for?
One of the most famous symptoms of the menopause is hot flashes. However, hot flashes can also develop due to high blood pressure, which in turn can lead to cardiovascular disease. Do the hot flashes last long? Is there a lot of heart failure in the family? Are there multiple risk factors present? Then discuss these complaints with a GP.
Where men can suddenly get severe complaints, women ‘just’ do not really feel well with heart complaints. They feel a bit grumpy and tired. They suffer from palpitations, experience (extreme) fatigue and sleep poorly. Because the signals are not obvious, they often do not seek help from a specialist. While it can be a sign that an infarct is occurring.
Feeling restless and anxious
Of course, men and women can also have the same complaints. Think of pain in the jaw, in the back and between the shoulder blades. Or nausea and vomiting. Women may also have upper abdominal pain and dizziness. In addition, they experience a restless and anxious feeling. Sometimes chest pain is completely absent in women, so doctors mistake the symptoms for flu.
Women have a silent infarct more often than men. This means that they don’t notice it themselves. They have virtually no symptoms. The clinical picture is then discovered by accident afterwards. However, women often appear to be dealing with fatigue complaints. So contact the doctor if the fatigue lasts for an extended period of time. Because the risks of doing nothing are simply too great.