Women’s Heart Health: 5 Facts You Can’t Afford to Ignore
We’ve all heard of the classic signs of a heart attack: the pain and feeling of tightness in the chest. The sensation of a heavy weight that makes it difficult to breathe. The image of someone clutching their chest in pain.
But for women’s heart health, the warning signs may be different.
Such as jaw pain. Or even arm discomfort.
These are some of the telltale signs of a heart attack in women. You see, many women do not present with the “classic,” common heart attack symptoms. This means that they may not get the timely help they need. In fact, there have even been cases where these heart attack symptoms were mistaken for the flu or even heartburn.
That’s why we wanted to present some vital information about women’s heart health that will go a long way toward your overall wellness.
So, let’s quickly review five women’s heart health facts you can’t afford to ignore.
5 Women’s Heart Health Facts You Can’t Afford to Ignore
1. Heart Attack Symptoms in Women Differ From Those in Men
We’ve touched base on this earlier, but we want to emphasize it again because heart disease is the number one killer of American women (killing roughly 1 in 3). Be aware of the following warning signs:
- Uncomfortable squeezing or pain, pressure or sense of fullness in the center of your chest. Be aware that this pain may come and go
- Pain in arms, back, stomach or jaw
- Shortness of breath—regardless of whether or not you have chest pain
- Cold sweats
It may also surprise you to learn that heart disease kills more women than all the forms of cancer combined.
If you are experiencing the symptoms listed above, we urge you to call 911 and get to the nearest emergency room.
2. Heart Disease Is Not Inevitable
True, many people develop cardiovascular disease as they age. This is due to the hardening of the arteries and other factors. But be aware that this isn’t the way things have to be. Adopting a healthier lifestyle, getting plenty of rest and exercising regularly now can make a huge difference as you age.
3. Regular Lab Work Can Help Prevent Heart Disease
Ever wonder what happens when we draw your blood? We’re looking for things like high cholesterol, elevated blood sugars and high triglycerides (the amount of fat in your blood).
When we catch these problems early, we can devise a plan to help stop heart disease before it even starts.
4. It’s Vital to Monitor Your Heart Health During Pregnancy
According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease causes one-third of maternal deaths, and it is also the top killer of new moms. In addition, a health issue experienced during pregnancy—preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and high blood pressure—places pregnant women at higher risk of developing heart disease. This occurs in roughly 10 to 20 percent of all pregnant women.
5. Follow These Key Actions to Minimize Your Chances of Developing Heart Disease
We are sure you already know that eating a nutritious diet and getting regular exercise contribute toward better heart health. If you’ve not started an exercise routine or have questions about healthy eating, just talk to us. We’ll be happy to devise a plan just for you.
But following are some other important actions you can take that you may not be aware of:
- Get tested for diabetes. Thousands of Americans have diabetes and don’t know it. Diabetes puts you at much greater risk for heart attack, stroke, and other diseases.
- Know your blood pressure numbers. It’s hard to combat risk factors if you don’t know you have them.
- Quit smoking if you smoke. Realize that vaping is not a “safe” alternative to smoking. Visit the site for the Centers for Disease Control for advice on how you can stop smoking.
- Limit your alcohol intake. It’s best to limit your consumption to one drink a day, depending upon your height and weight.
- Manage your stress. While stress in itself does not cause heart disease, it does contribute to high blood pressure and high blood sugar, which does increase your risk.
Women’s Heart Health: Just One Part of Your Overall Wellness Profile at Associates in Women’s Healthcare
According to Harvard Medical School, the heart beats 2.5 billion times over the course of an average lifetime, moving millions of gallons of blood.
We want to help you be sure that each of those heartbeats is as healthy as it can be.
We do this by being proactive with your overall wellness.
While Pap smears and breast exams are vital parts of an annual physical, we believe there is so much more to your health profile. We will monitor you for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and anything else that can impact your health.
So whether you’re past due for your annual physical or you just want to be sure you’re living a healthy lifestyle that will help your heart, contact us today for an appointment.