Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death among both men and women. With a little knowledge and a better system to improve our health, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Women tend to have heart issues triggered by stress and rest; another odd paradox of life. The symptoms of a heart attack are not like those of a man who can often experience crushing pain and pressure. For a woman, some of the symptoms are more subtle.
- Neck, jaw, shoulder, back and upper abdomen can feel uncomfortable.
- Pain in the arms
- Shortness of breath
- Unusual fatigue
- Women can also have chest pain and pressure but it can go unnoticed.
Another difference between men and women is that men typically get blockages in the major arteries, women have issues more in the smaller vessels.
How can we guard ourselves against heart disease?
It seems cliché, but stress, diet and sleep hygiene are the top three factors that can help us live a healthy long life.
All of us experience stress, especially during a pandemic when we have faced so many changes to our typical life experience. Many have faced loss of all varieties. Stress is accumulative and one of the best ways to keep this from taking over our health is to move. Walking is one of the best ways to dispel the daily stress and pressure. Get out in the sun, and take a nice gentle walk. You don’t have to jog or sprint, just a nice, light walk. What are other activities you have found that helps you release the pressures of the day? Do more of that!
Diet is another thing within our control that can help us a lot with our heart health. Leafy greens, plenty of vegetables, healthy proteins, whole grains and fats all combine to keep us balanced. Chronic inflammation is often caused by the processed foods we consume, excess sugars and even sugar substitutes. This inflammation affects our arteries not just our joints. When our vessels become inflamed, we run the risk of blockages and narrowing which leads to heart disease. Changing our diet starts with little changes each day. When faced with what to eat, make the best choice you can. Plan out a week of menus and know where your next meal is coming. If you don’t make a plan, that’s a plan to fail.
Sleep is so important. We have talked about this before on the blog. How are you doing with your sleep hygiene? If it is still a struggle, try a few tricks.
- Meditation and music before bed helps to relax the mind
- Eliminate screen time in the evening hours
- Keep your room dark and cool.
- Eliminate caffeine intake in the afternoon.
Sleep is when our body heals and our cells regenerate. It’s also a time when we can lower our inflammation.
There is so much we can do to be proactive about our health and this is just a small list of things we can try. If you feel you are at risk for heart disease, make an appointment to visit with one of our providers and come up with a plan of good health!