Radio Show

The Hidden Signs of Heart Disease in Women

Written by: Lauren Strait

Bob Roth, host of the Health Futures – Taking Stock in You radio show and podcast, recently had Mia Chorney, NP, from HonorHealth on the show to discuss women’s heart health.

For the full radio show episode, CLICK HERE.

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Heart disease is the #1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 female deaths each year. But women often exhibit different heart attack symptoms than men. Mia Chorney, a nurse practitioner specializing in cardiology, revealed her own experience with serious heart rhythm issues requiring intensive treatment.This started when she suddenly collapsed at work in her 30s and was found to have an underlying heart condition. Her personal health crisis fuels her passion for raising awareness of women’s heart disease risk.

Women’s Heart Attack Signs Aren’t Always Obvious

A major theme was how heart disease symptoms differ in women compared to men. While men often have the well-known crushing chest pain, women’s symptoms are more subtle.

Warning Signs to Watch For

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Jaw or back pain
  • Shortness of breath

These could indicate a heart issue in women. But since textbook heart attack signs are male-centric, women’s symptoms are frequently dismissed. We need more education on recognizing subtle heart attack signs in women.

Pregnancy Complications Foreshadow Future Risk

Mia emphasized that pregnancy-related issues like preeclampsia and gestational diabetes can foreshadow a woman’s risk of developing heart disease later in life. Women with cardiovascular problems during pregnancy should receive thorough follow-up screening and care after giving birth. Their doctors need to monitor closely for emerging heart disease.

Lifestyle and Social Factors Affect Outcomes

Both Mia and host Bob Roth stressed that genetics are only part of the equation. Lifestyle choices like diet, exercise, sleep and avoiding smoking have a very significant impact. Also, social determinants of health like income, education level, and environment (e.g. access to healthy food and safe places to exercise) greatly affect cardiovascular outcomes. Women with fewer socioeconomic advantages tend to develop heart disease earlier.

Key Takeaways on Women’s Hidden Heart Risks

This insightful Health Futures episode offered important perspectives on preventing and managing heart disease in women through:

  • Knowing the subtle, non-chest pain signs of a heart attack in women
  • Recognizing pregnancy complications as early risk markers
  • Making positive lifestyle choices to support heart health
  • Addressing social determinants through community programs

The conversation provided actionable guidance to help women listen to their bodies and protect their hearts.


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