It’s time for a heart to heart. You know what I’m talking about… the heart of a woman.
More specifically, women and heart disease. Did you know it’s one of the leading causes of death among women? Did you also know it doesn’t have to be that way?
Women are often under diagnosed when it comes to heart disease. Sometimes, by the time the diagnosis is made, it’s too late. Deaths from heart disease between men and women each year are nearly the same. With men, they typically have the tell-tale signs of chest pain and pressure but this isn’t always the case with women. Not to mention, heart disease isn’t just a heart attack…it includes arrhythmias, stroke, heart failure and heart attack.
But…Take heart! There are things you can do to ensure you aren’t a statistic. For starters, educate yourself on the disease and become more aware of your body and your health.
- Be in the know…know your blood pressure and what those numbers mean. High blood pressure doesn’t always come with its own list of symptoms so check it regularly.
- Are you a smoker…if you are, you’ve heard it before. Smoking will increase your risk for heart disease. Talk to your healthcare provider about the help and tools available to quit smoking.
- Cholesterol…check those numbers regularly.
- Weight…obesity raises your risk for heart disease but you know that already I think. If your pants are fitting a little tighter than before, take measures to course correct now. A few pounds to lose is easier than many more.
- How is your stress? If you are living anywhere but under a rock, deep in a cave, then it’s probably safe to say…you are stressed!
- Alcohol consumption…again, it’s just not good for your heart.
- Heart attack- Here’s where it gets tricky for women…sometimes, the symptoms of a heart attack are vague. You could experience dull or sharp pain in your chest but not always. The pain could be in the neck, jaw or throat, even the abdomen or back. It can occur when you are resting, engaged in physical exercise or under a great deal of stress.
- Stroke- sudden weakness or numbness, especially on one side of the body, unbalanced, uncoordinated, difficulty speaking, vision problems, severe headache and loss of consciousness.
- Heart Failure- Shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling in the extremities.
- Arrhythmia- palpitations or a fluttering feeling in your chest…and not just when your handsome guy walks in the room.
Solutions: Though it can be a heart breaking subject to discuss, it’s not all bad. There are many proactive things you can do today to keep the odds in your favor. Schedule regular visits with your healthcare provider, especially if you are feeling symptoms. Keep your bad habits and weight in check. Do what you can to reduce stress. One of the best stress reducers is physical activity. It’s also important to keep other health problems managed. Autoimmune diseases and even diabetes can create additional inflammation and stress on the heart, so make sure you are in the best health possible.