Heart Diseases in Women

Heart Diseases in Women and Risk Factors


There are a variety of heart diseases that occur and women and most of them occur due to an imbalance of oxygen demand of heart muscles and supply resulting from insufficient blood supply to the cardiac muscles. The condition can be asymptomatic for some time may result in angina or complete heart failure. It sometimes causes sudden cardiac death to occur due to underlying heart diseases which were asymptomatic for many years.

Risk Factor For Heart Diseases In Women

  • Hypertension- it is the most common risk factor and if a patient is suffering from hypertension it is very significant that she may have heart disease in later stages of life
  • Diabetes mellitus it is the worst risk factor for having any kind of heart disease
  • Cigarette smoking- smoking causes lungs and heart diseases respectively
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Age- heart disease and women occur mostly and the age of greater than 55 years of age
  • Family history- if there is a positive family history of heart disease in women, it is very significant that females may suffer the disease as well.


Angina Pectoris

The pain of angina is central and diffuse in nature. It is gradual in onset and it takes a few minutes to develop. The nature of the pain is constricting, crushing, choking and it is a dull kind of pain that may radiate to jaw and neck. It does not occur during exertion but also during cold when and some emotional stress. The pain of angina pectoris is usually relieved by taking medicines which are nitrates and rest but if the patient is suffering from myocardial infarction, the pain will not go away so it will differentiate between the pain of angina pectoris and myocardial infarction in heart diseases in women.

The change in position of the body or respiratory effort does not have any improvement on the patient and the pain may be associated with nausea, vomiting, sweating, and head lightness. The best initial test to diagnose that is ECG and then we move to thallium scan which shows myocardial perfusion percentage. Lifestyle modification is the most significant treatment options and women should be asked to quit smoking, reduce weight, exercise regularly, and take fruits and low intake of saturated fat and cholesterol.

Myocardial Infarction

The chest pain is the main symptom in myocardial infarction which radiates to neck jaw and arms. The pain is more severe and lasts more than angina pectoris and is associated with vomiting and the collapse of the patient. The chest pain has a Constricting and tightening character and when we see the patient the signs of heart failure may be seen. ECG is the best initial test to diagnose which has ST-SEGMENT variations. Cardiac enzymes can then be checked because unstable angina does not cause a rise in cardiac enzyme and if they are increased in number it signifies myocardial infarction which is one of the worst heart diseases in women.

Congestive Heart Failure

It is the medical condition in which the heart is unable to pump the blood at a rate that is required to meet the metabolic demands of the body’s organs and tissues. It may be due to disturbances in systolic or diastolic dysfunction. If the woman is the frame from left-sided heart failure which is the most common type of heart failure, it occurs because the left side of the heart cannot eject the proper amount of blood into atria which results in decreased left ventricular output and it causes pulmonary edema and pulmonary congestion as a result.

Heart Diseases in Women

The women have signs and symptoms of difficulty in breathing, orthopnea which is dyspnea online flat due to increased venous return towards the heart and proximal nocturnal dyspnea which refers to a sudden attack of extreme dyspnea occurring at night.

Infective Endocarditis

It refers to microbial infection of the heart muscles which include endothelium and it is not only limited to walls. It is a kind of heart disease in women that involves the infection of the heart muscles and the risk of this condition is more in the women who are intravenous drug abusers, undergoing hemodialysis, diabetic, and implanted with cardiac pacemakers.

The Mitral valve is most commonly involved in infective endocarditis and the second most common valve involved is the aortic valve. the tricuspid valve is more commonly involved in IV drug abusers. The patient presents with fever, chills, night sweats, anorexia, anemia, and clubbing. Signs of immune Complex vasculitis which include Osler’s nodes and Roth spots.

Atrial Fibrillation

It is one of the heart diseases and women which is characterized by multiple foci that are present in the atria and they fire continuously in a particular pattern causing an irregular beat. It is diagnosed by irregularly irregular pulse, raised JVP without ‘a’ wave and there are no P waves on ECG and QRS complexes are irregular but normal. It occurs due to pulmonary embolism, rheumatic heart disease, atrial myxoma, thyrotoxicosis, and treatment includes electrical cardioversion to normal sinus rhythm


Pericarditis is a kind of heart disease in women which acres due to viral etiology and sometimes maybe autoimmune in nature. The pain of pericarditis usually radiates to neck and arm and is positional which is relieved by rest but the pain is aggravated on lying supine, deep inspiration, and it is relieved by leaning forward and sitting up. The apex beat is not able to localize in pericarditis and the heart sounds are dull. The fictional rub which is the friction between visual and parietal pleura surfaces is usually heard in acute pericarditis.

Cardiac Tamponade

The collection of fluid within the potential space of pericardial sac is called pericardial effusion and cardiac tamponade occurs due to compression of the heart due to that fluid resulting and acute heart failure. It is a kind of heart disease in women where the apex beat is obscured,  the heart sounds are dull and the fictional rub is present in which stages of the disease.

Heart Diseases in Women: Final Words

The heart diseases in women occur mostly after Age 50 years and if she is diabetic, hypertensive, obese, and has a family history of heart disease, she is more prone to have heart diseases. Angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, cardiac tamponade, pericarditis, and atrial fibrillation are few of the heart diseases which occur most commonly in women.

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