Women Can Have More Things That Cause Heart Attacks Than Men
Recent news tells of a woman who fell prey to a heart attack despite having a healthy cardiovascular system. Here's what happened.
Did you know that heart attack fatalities are more common in women than in men? One in four men die of a heart attack in the United States every year, but for women in the U.S. that statistic is one in three according to the American Heart Association!
Why are women more prone to dying of a heart attack? Shockingly, the National Institutes of Health say that women are more at risk of getting a heart attack without any blockages in their arteries! In fact, such a heart attack happened to Stephanie Nichols as she was driving to her vacation home.
Nichols felt odd in her upper torso, then suddenly had a hard time breathing and felt her left arm go numb. She quickly detoured her route to an emergency room where doctors diagnosed her as having a heart attack.
Here's what's horrifying – her cardiovascular system was relatively healthy at the time! She doesn't smoke, didn't have diabetes or a familial medical history of cardiovascular arrests. She even stated she really takes it easy and doesn't have a lot of daily stress, which is a major contributor of cardiovascular disease. Her arteries were clean – no blockages, but there she was in the ER with her heart stopped.
Why? Her doctors theorize her heart suffered from a temporary coronary artery spasm or a minor blood clot. Doctors say that women accumulate plaque differently from men – plaque might not build up in one part of an artery. For women, plaque is likely to distribute itself evenly through their arteries (it's ironic, almost like how women are more organized and tidier than men). This can lead to routine tests showing clean results because no outright buildups are detected.
But women also have smaller coronary vessels than men, which means that if there's an even buildup of plaque throughout their coronary arteries, then they're more sensitive to heart attacks if a minute blood clot or clots affect a number of these smaller vital vessels. Also, these smaller heart blood vessels are prone to random spasms, which can block blood flow if there's an even distribution of plaque already present. Thankfully, these spasms are short-lived and the heart gets oxygen again once they've passed.
It's not all bad – whether you're male or female, you can prevent getting a heart attack by doing the same healthy things everyday. Exercise, eat right, and rest! Never let stress overcome you, and never forget your greens. Keeping your heart healthy is a lifelong proactive endeavor!