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Did you know heart disease is the  number one killer of women in the US? This past February 3 marked the 15th Annual National Wear Red Day which started back in 2003 to bring national awareness and attention to the disease that kills six times as many women as breast cancer. However, you can and should be taking care of your heart 24/7 - and the American Heart Association's Life Is Why campaign describes how (and why, of course).   

Heart disease has largely been associated with men and quite often goes un-diagnosed for women but is preventable. In fact, by making simple small changes to your diet and lifestyle you can decrease your chances of heart disease significantly.

Read Up On Heart Health

The book “Women and Heart Disease: The Real Story” by Dr. Jacqueline A. Eubany clearly lays out the warning signs and prevention tips for women in a way that is interesting and more importantly understandable.  You might be surprised to know the rate of death from heart disease for women between 35-54 is on the rise. Women often don’t recognize the signs of a heart attack because they are not normally massive coronaries which are more prevalent in men. Therefore women tend to call 911 too late and the later the diagnosis, the less likely is a full recovery.

Warning Signs Of Heart Disease In Women

What are some warning signs of heart disease for women (heart attack, stroke, arrhythmia and congestive heart failure)? Chest discomfort that radiates to the stomach (can feel like heartburn and indigestion) or pain down the arm or into the back. Other signs are a shortness of breath or difficulty catching one’s breath with chest discomfort. Some women break out in cold sweats, turn pale, are light headed and /or experience dizziness, inability to breath lying flat (like sleeping) and abnormally swollen legs. If any combination of these occur seek immediate attention.

How To Lower Your Heart Disease Risk

Lower your risk of heart disease by not smoking, staying away from secondhand smoke, doing physical activity, keeping a healthy weight, sticking to a heart healthy diet and checking your cholesterol and blood pressure levels regularly. Women should engage in a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity. Ideally workouts should be spread throughout the week. Muscle strengthening activities two or more days per week is important as well. 

A heart healthy diet - one that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, high fiber, fish that contains omega-3 fatty acids, low in saturated fats, trans-fats, cholesterol and salt  -  is essential. Also try to consume alcohol in moderation (one drink per day) and avoid foods and drinks with added sugars. If you have a family predisposition of heart problems, speak to your doctor to make sure you are doing all that you can to avoid becoming a statistic.

For more information on women’s heart disease visit www.heart.org.  

 

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 Lauren Dimet Waters

EIC of FountainOf30.com

 

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