Women’s Safety and Health Issues at Work – Heart Disease

Little is known about job risks for coronary heart disease. Studies have found heart disease in some people may be linked to certain chemical and physical factors such as:

  • Exposure to certain chemicals, for example – carbon disulfide, nitroglycerin and carbon monoxide, has been found to affect the heart.
  • Environment tobacco smoke, extreme heat and extreme cold are possible risk factors for heart disease.
  • Many studies have found a link between work – related stress and heart disease.
  • There is also evidence that job noise and increased blood pressure may be linked, as well as shift work and     heart disease.
  • Though more physical activity results in less heart disease, heavy lifting (in work and non-work settings) has been linked with increased chance of heart attack.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, killing 292,188 women in 2009 – that’s 1 in every 4 female deaths.

Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a “man’s disease,” around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the United States.

Despite increase in awareness over the past decade, only 54% of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease.



While some women have no symptoms, others experience angina (dull, heavy to sharp chest pain or discomfort), pain in the neck/jaw/throat or pain in the upper abdomen or back. These may occur during rest, begin during physical activity or be triggered by mental stress.

Women are more likely to describe chest pain that is sharp, burning and more frequently have pain in the neck, jaw, throat, abdomen or back.

Sometimes heart disease may be silent and not diagnosed until a woman experiences signs or symptoms of a heart attack, heart failure, an arrhythmia or stroke.

These symptoms may include:

  • Heart Attack – chest pain or discomfort, upper back pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea/vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, and shortness of breath.
  • Arrhythmia – fluttering feelings in the chest (palpitations).
  • Heart Failure – shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling of the feet/ankles/legs/abdomen.
  • Stroke – sudden weakness, paralysis (inability to move) or numbness of the face/arms/legs, especially on one side of the body.   Other symptoms may include: confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech, difficulty seeing in one or both eyes, shortness of breath, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, loss of consciousness, or sudden and severe headache.

Risk Factors

High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. About half of Americans (49%) have at least one of these three risk factors.

For more information of women and heart disease, go to the following link :


Content source for this article came from: National Center for Disease Control and Prevention at:


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