Ashtabula County Medical Center | ACMC Pulse | Summer 2023

HEART DISEASE IS MORE DEADLY than all forms of cancer combined, but diagnosing it in women in the early stages can be difficult, because symptoms can be similar to other health complications. Cleveland Clinic Cardiologist Ali Al-Assaad, MD, offered this warning as well as words of hope: “Heart disease doesn’t start with a heart attack. It starts with things that are preventable.” Heart disease symptoms begin when there are problems either with how the heart beats or how the blood flows into or out of the heart. A blockage will stop blood from flowing, while plaque buildup in the arteries can reduce blood flow to the point symptoms become noticeable. Because these symptoms are also common to other health concerns, many women may ignore them. “For women, more than 40% experience symptoms that are considered atypical,” Cardiology Ali Al-Assaad, MD Heart disease doesn’t start with a heart attack Knowing your risks and keeping an eye out for symptoms can make it preventable Dr. Al-Assaad said. “We are familiar with chest pains and pains radiating through the arm, but women also present symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, back pain or heart palpitations. It is essential to be familiar with the differences in the symptoms and to seek care immediately. We do not want to delay treatment, because early intervention means we have more options for treatment, and we can possibly prevent the problem from getting worse.” 10 ACMC Pulse •