Heart Health in Focus: Essential Screenings for Women in Singapore 

Learn about actionable heart health screens available for women in Singapore, and ensure your heart's health with our expertise on essential screenings.

Heart health has long been a topic surrounded by misconceptions, particularly the notion that heart disease is predominantly a concern for men. This myth has obscured a critical health issue for women, leading to under diagnosis and delayed treatment. 

Yet, the reality is starkly different—heart disease is a leading cause of death among women worldwide, including in Singapore. 

This article aims to shed light on the importance of heart health for women, underscore the necessity of screenings, and clarify how and why these screenings may differ from those typically recommended for men.

Understanding Women's Heart Health

While heart disease does not discriminate, its manifestation can differ significantly between genders. 

For women, heart disease can be a silent killer, with symptoms often going unnoticed or being attributed to less serious health issues. Statistics reveal a troubling picture: globally, heart disease accounts for a significant portion of mortality among women, challenging the misconception that it is primarily a male concern. 

According to the Singapore Heart Foundation, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of death among women in Singapore, mirroring global trends. Despite significant advances in healthcare, heart disease accounts for nearly 29.6% of all deaths among women in Singapore, making it the top killer for females in the nation. This figure is a reminder of the critical need for increased awareness, education, and proactive management of heart health among women.

Why Heart Health is Crucial for Women

Women face unique risk factors when it comes to heart disease. These include hormonal fluctuations, particularly those associated with menopause, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular issues. 

Conditions like gestational diabetes or hypertension during pregnancy also elevate a woman’s long-term risk of heart disease. Furthermore, lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, and stress levels, when combined with biological predispositions, heighten the risk even more. 

The Silent Threat: Under-recognized Symptoms in Women

One of the critical challenges in addressing heart health for women is the underrecognition of symptoms. Unlike men, who may experience the classic symptom of chest pain, women’s symptoms can be subtler and more varied. 

  • Unusual Fatigue: Unlike the normal tiredness felt after a long day, this fatigue doesn’t go away with rest. It can be overwhelming and occurs without any obvious reason.
  • Shortness of Breath: Often, women might experience difficulty breathing not just during physical activity but also during rest or while performing simple tasks that didn’t previously cause them to feel winded.
  • Nausea or Vomiting: These symptoms can be easily mistaken for other less serious conditions like the stomach flu, but they can occur during a heart attack.
  • Discomfort in the Back or Jaw: This can be a sharp, aching pain that sometimes radiates from the chest to these areas, particularly noticeable in the morning.
  • Sweating: Breaking out in a cold sweat without a clear reason can be a sign of heart disease and is often overlooked.
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness: Feeling faint can accompany or occur independently of other symptoms, especially if it happens with chest discomfort or shortness of breath.
  • Indigestion or Heartburn: Some women have reported experiencing these symptoms which are often dismissed as related to diet or stress rather than potential indicators of heart disease.

These symptoms can vary greatly among individuals and might not always signal heart disease, but their presence, especially if they form a pattern or occur with increased frequency, warrants medical attention. The variability and subtlety of these symptoms underscore the necessity for women to be vigilant about their heart health and seek professional evaluation when these signs emerge.

The Importance of Health Screenings for Women's Hearts

Regular health screenings are vital in detecting risk factors and signs of heart disease early on. Screenings that measure cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and conduct electrocardiograms (ECGs) can provide critical insights into a woman’s heart health. 

These screenings allow for early intervention, which can dramatically alter the disease’s trajectory. Health guidelines suggest that women should start getting screened for heart disease from the age of 20, with the frequency of screenings increasing with age and risk factors.

The approach to heart health screenings does take into account the physiological and hormonal differences between men and women. For instance, the risk assessment for heart disease in women may include considerations for conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or autoimmune diseases, which have been linked to increased heart disease risk. Moreover, the interpretation of test results can vary by gender, emphasising the need for personalised care in the prevention and treatment of heart disease.

The Takeaway

At Advantage Medical Group, we’re committed to supporting this journey with a comprehensive array of health screens and tests specially designed for women. From detailed assessments that uncover the earliest signs of heart disease to personalised consultations that guide you through your results, we’re here to ensure you receive the care you need to thrive.

Schedule your heart health screening with us today and step confidently onto the path of cardiovascular well-being.