Why are young women being struck down by heart attacks?

Why are young women being struck down by heart attacks?

It's pretty rare, even unheard of, for a woman as young as 30 to experience a heart attack, especially when she is healthy, but sadly, it's something that really can happen.

Heart Attacks in Young Women: Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

Over the years, cases of women aged 30-50 years old who experience heart attacks are slowly increasing. This type of heart attack is called Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD), and it's a very serious condition.

According to cardiologist Dr. Sharon Hayes, "SCAD is a type of heart attack, but completely different than the one we normally think of. It's caused by a split or tear in an otherwise healthy artery that leads to a drop in blood flow to the heart leading to a heart attack."

Women who are most vulnerable to SCAD are those who are aged 30-50 years old, and there's also a 10-20% chance that they will be mothers or pregnant women. Often, the victims are healthy, have normal blood pressure, and have almost no risk factors for heart disease. That's why it's such a difficult disease to diagnose.

Women should know the symptoms

In spite of the unpredictable nature of SCAD, it's important for women to know the symptoms of a heart attack so that they would be able to handle themselves better in case they become a victim of SCAD. These symptoms include chest discomfort, cold sweats, fatigue, shortness of breath and pain in the arm, back or jaw.

Currently, research is still ongoing regarding the nature of SCAD, and why it happens specifically to young and healthy women. Additionally, any way of preventing SCAD from reoccurring is still unknown, which is why women who have been diagnosed with SCAD are advised not to engange in sports, lifting heavy weights, or becoming pregnant.

Taking care of your heart

Keeping our hearts healthy is very important. Our hearst are one of the most important organs we have, and it's integral for almost all of the processes that happen in our body, which is why having a healthy heart makes us healthy as well.

Here are some helpful tips to keeping your heart healthy:

  1. Eat healthy. You are what you eat. Eating food that's healthy, fresh, and full of nutrients will make you healthy and full of energy. Eating healthy keeps your heart healthy as well.
  2. Learn to relax. Relaxation and having a positive attitude can keep your heart healthy. Negative emotions such as anger, or hostility are actually bad for your heart. You can take up yoga, or try various meditation methods to help you relax.
  3. Stop smoking. Smoking is by far one of the worst things that you can do to your body. If you're a smoker, or if you live with someone who smokes, it's best to quit.
  4. Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attacks. That's why keeping it low through exercise and a healthy diet is important to keep your heart healthy.
  5. Ease up on your sugar intake. Too much sugar in your bloodstream can damage your arteries, in addition to causing diabetes. Try to limit your sugar intake so that your blood sugar levels are in the normal range.
  6. Know your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a big problem since it can contribute to plaque buildup in your arteries, and high cholesterol levelsdo increase the chances that you'll get a heart attack. Eat healthy, and monitor your blood cholesterol so that it's at a safe and healthy level.

Sources: NBC News, iTech Post, WebMD

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Written by

Nasreen Majid

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