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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is it true men are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease?

    There seems to be a lot of information in the media lately about women and heart disease but I thought that men were more at risk. Is this just scare mongering or are women now at high risk as well?
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  • Nicole Senior

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    I'm an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist, consultant, author, speaker and food and health enthusiast. I love talking and writing about food and health.(please note, … View Profile

    Yes, being male is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease however women soon catch up after the menopause when the protective effective of oestrogen starts to fall. So while CVD might occur later in women, it is just as devastating. And Heart Disease is still the biggest killer of women. Find out more at
    he best cure is prevention so why not pursue healthy eating and physical activity as a family or couple? If you'd like to know how, check out Eat to Beat Cholesterol for advice, tips and recipes at

  • Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    Yes women do get heart disease!

    When nurse-researcher Dr. Jean McSweeney from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences interviewed hundreds of heart attack survivors, she discovered something surprising: 95 percent of the women she interviewed actually suspected something was very wrong in the months leading up to their attack.

    But even these early warning prodromal symptoms didn’t necessarily send women rushing to the doctor, as reported in Dr. McSweeney’s study published in the medical journal, Circulation.(1)  And for those women who did seek help early, doctors often failed to identify their problems as being heart-related.

    If you experience the warning symptoms listed below – especially if the feelings are new, worse, unexplained, or you have other heart disease risk factors – call your doctor.

    We could do a lot to give women longer lives and better-quality lives if we could help them recognize these heart problem signs before the first attack.”

    Symptom: Unusual fatigue

    ♥  As Early Warning: Wake up tired. Difficult to carry out usual activities; gets worse over time.
    ♥  As Sign of Impending Heart Attack: Overwhelming exhaustion – too tired to do anything.

    Symptom: Shortness of breath

    ♥  As Early Warning: Winded with little exertion. Improves when you stop.
    ♥  As Sign of Impending Heart Attack: Often the first symptom; continues or worsens.

    Symptom: Mood changes

    ♥  As Early Warning: Fleeting feelings of anxiety for no reason. Goes away.
    ♥  As Sign of Impending Heart Attack: Anxiety occurs along with shortness of breath and doesn’t let up; what we call a “sense of impending doom”.

    Symptom: Digestive changes

    ♥  As Early Warning: Frequent indigestion.
    ♥  As Sign of Impending Heart Attack: Terrible heartburn, often with nausea and vomiting.

    Symptom: Weakness

    ♥  As Sign of Impending Heart Attack: No strength – like having the flu.

    Symptom: Sleep disturbance

    ♥  As Early Warning: Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

    Symptom: Chest discomfort

    ♥  As Early Warning: Pressure, pain, heaviness, fullness, ache, burning, or discomfort (or like a pulled muscle)
    ♥  As Sign of Impending Heart Attack: Common, usually through chest or back. May or may not be the “Hollywood Heart Attack”: crushing chest pain, pain radiating down either left or right armCarolyn’s Note: remember that in over 10% of heart attacks in women, there are NO symptoms of chest discomfort at all.(2)

    Symptom: Other pains

      As Early Warning: Aching arms and hands; may have numbness or tingling (right, left or both)
    ♥  As Sign of Impending Heart Attack: Discomfort and/or pain in jaw, upper back, shoulders, neck, right, arms (left, right or both)

    Other symptoms

    ♥  As Early Warning: Headaches and periods of blurry vision
    ♥  As Sign of Impending Heart Attack: Cold clammy sweat, pale skin


    ♥  As Early Warning:  Symptoms come and go, but may increase in intensity and number as attack nears.
    ♥  As Sign of Impending Heart Attack: You may have six or more different symptoms that become more intense and pile on top of one another.

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