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It’s a Man’s Disease… Or Is It?

By Curt Buckley

For the last post of the series on the last day of American Heart Month, let’s take a look at some of the popular misconceptions associated with heart disease.


When asked to describe a heart attack victim, how many of us would picture an older, slightly-larger-than-average man keeled over gripping his left shoulder intensely? That’s the stereotypical image most of us have come to associate with heart problems. But if life has taught us anything, it’s that stereotypes tend to get us in trouble more often than they prove themselves true.

As mentioned earlier in this series, heart disease is the number one killer of American men and women. Women are often conditioned into thinking that cancer is their number one enemy, which it might be if it weren't for all the terrific cancer awareness programs and organizations out there. But make no mistake about it, ladies: Heart disease is responsible for more deaths in women each year than all forms of cancer combined.

Another reason for this misconception in women’s risk level might stem from the differences in male and female symptoms. While men who fall victim to a heart attack usually experience extreme chest pain or discomfort, women's symptoms are a little different and more wide-ranging. They should look out for shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain. Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, and upper abdominal pain are also symptoms to pay attention to.

If we all stay aware of the real risks and facts, and do our part to advocate to loved ones, it will go a long way toward slaying this deadly disease once and for all. For more information on women’s heart health specifically, visit the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women website.

This is one in a series of posts on heart health. Find the others here:

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