“Believe it or not, statistics show that about 267,000 women die of heart attacks each year — six times more than those who die of breast cancer,” Dr. Maguire explained. “The reason it’s such a big threat is that women who are having a heart attack often have atypical complaints, such as shortness of breath, nausea and / or vomiting, and back or jaw pain. They also experience flu-like symptoms, fatigue, extreme weakness, light-headedness, and cold sweats.” Read more here.
Dr. Salma Haque Helps Women Tackle Headaches
By Dr. Salma Haque
Simplicity Urgent Care
Have you had a headache recently? It’s not uncommon, especially in women, and an acute attack can range from annoying to completely debilitating. While some headaches are caused by the daily stresses of life, some do need your attention.
For starters, it’s helpful to be able to differentiate between tension headaches and migraines.
Tension headaches: These are the ones that usually develop after a long, stressful day. They are characterized by a dull steady pain often described as a tight band around the head, and usually affect both sides of the head, occasionally spreading to the neck or shoulders, and are non-throbbing.
Migraines: If you have ever had a migraine, you know it. They are characterized by throbbing on one side of the head, and are commonly associated with noise and light sensitivity. You may also have nausea or vomiting, visual symptoms, or tingling in the extremities prior to onset.
Migraine sufferers often have a family history of similar episodes. It is important to realize many people suffer from both migraines and tension headaches, and sometimes women will have a combination of the two.
Next, get familiar with the three tiers of treatment for migraines.
Acute abortive therapy. The first line of therapy for headaches is to abort an attack with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, or a combination drug with acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine.
Prescription drugs. When these options are insufficient, I will prescribe a serotonin agonist (more commonly known as triptans), dihydroergotamines, or a butalbital-containing agent.
These drugs have been shown to be effective, but are associated with more side effects and are not tolerated by all patients. Anti-nausea medication often helps in patients with complicated migraines.
Preventative medication. If patients are getting migraines more than once a month, and they last for three days or more per month or are complicated, I recommend preventative therapy.
The most studied of these are beta-blockers (commonly known to treat high blood pressure), amytriptyline (an antidepressant), and some anti-seizure drugs (although side effects are more common). The best option is individualized to the patient. Keep in mind that preventative medication may take two to three months before a clinical effect can be appreciated.