Heart Disease: Number One Leading Cause Of Death For Women In The US

Heart disease is still the number one killer of both men and women, however, women are affected 10 years later in life compared to men. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two-thirds of women who die from this disease usually have no accompanying symptoms. Also, women are twice as likely to die from a heart attack as well.

According to Lake News Online, women generally confuse symptoms of a heart attack with either the flu, aging, or even acid reflux disease. A blocked artery will usually disrupt the blood flow to the heart, and that is when a heart attack occurs. The signs of a heart attack include the following.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Cold sweats
  • Upper body discomfort or pain
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

If you or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to call 911 right away or go to the nearest emergency room.

In addition to gender, both men and women share the exact same risk factors for heart disease. These risk factors are as follows.

  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Family history of the disease
  • Not being active
  • Being a certain age

When it comes to reducing their risk for breast cancer, women usually take early precautions such as getting yearly mammograms or doing breast self-examinations at home. It is also important for women to take precautions against heart disease as well.

Steps On Preventing Heart Disease

1) Quitting smoking: Smoking is one of the main risk factors associated with heart disease. It is very important to give up those cigarettes so that you will live a much healthier lifestyle. Furthermore, quitting smoking alone will reduce the chances of getting a heart attack by as much as 50 percent or more.

2) Get your cholesterol checked: Generally, cholesterol has no symptoms, so you will not know you have developed heart disease unless you get it frequently checked. Exercise, diet, and medications all play a role in your cholesterol levels. To keep your cholesterol at a normal level, you should eat food that is low in fat. Plus, you should include grains, fruits, and vegetables in your diet as well.

3) Check blood pressure and keep it under control: High blood pressure is another risk factor that contributes to heart disease. Diet, exercise, and medications all work together to keep blood pressure at a normal level. Another tip is to watch your salt levels. Try to aim for at least 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, but no more than that.

4) Keep an eye on your weight: Being 20 percent overweight or more will increase your risk of developing heart disease, especially if you have excess abdominal fat around the stomach area. When eating, it is best to reduce your portions and always choose healthy foods to lose weight.

5) If you have diabetes, it is important to keep your glucose level within a decent range. If you are at risk for diabetes, check with your doctor to be tested.

6) Try not to drink excessively: Too much alcohol will not only increase the risk of getting heart disease, but it will also increase your triglycerides, a fat that is stored in your blood. Alcohol can also attribute to weight gain and will even increase blood pressure as well. Women are allowed to have one drink per day, men can have two drinks.

7) Keep stress under control: Women who have stress, especially marital stress, are at risk of having a heart attack. The stress hormone in a woman’s body contributes to excess weight and will raise her blood pressure as well. Therefore, it is highly recommended to remove any stressors from your life. Develop some coping strategies to deal with the rest.

8) Communicate with your doctor about all the symptoms you are having: They are there to listen and to come up with a preventative plan for you. Never ignore your symptoms!

“More and more physicians are encouraging patients to email questions and concerns between medical visits,” said Barry Jacobs, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist and Director of Behavioral Sciences at the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program in Springfield, Pennsylvania. “Whatever the mode of communication, patients still need to be willing to voice doubts and confusion to work effectively.”

9). Take all medications as directed by your doctor: If you have any questions regarding cholesterol or blood pressure medications, check with your physician.

February is Heart Disease Awareness Month

Besides Valentine’s day, February also marks heart disease awareness month for women. This is the time to get on the ball and focus on your heart health ladies! By following the steps listed above, you are guaranteed to live a much healthier lifestyle. Pass this information on to others, including men, in order to prevent heart disease. Also check out http://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/ to see how you can get involved in February heart month or visit https://www.goredforwomen.org/.

[Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

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