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Women & Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States.

About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths (CDC).

The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which are blockages within the heart’s arteries that can cause a heart attack.

Heart disease is the Number one killer of women in United States causing 1 in 3 deaths each year.

Are you at risk for heart disease? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you smoke?
  • Take birth control pills?
  • Exercise regularly?
  • Overweight or obese?
  • Drink excessive amounts of alcohol?
  • Have too much stress in your life?
  • Age 55+ or completed menopause?
  • Have a family history of heart disease or diabetes?
  • Have high blood pressure or cholesterol levels?

If you answered yes to any of these, you should talk with your doctor about these risks and how to lower them for better heart health.

What questions should you ask your doctor at your next doctor’s appointment?

  • What are my blood pressure, cholesterol, A1C and blood glucose levels and do they put me at risk for heart disease?
  • What about my BMI and waist to hip ratio – those numbers indicate if I’m at risk for heart disease?
  • Can I take steps through diet and exercise to improve my risk factors?
  • Does my family’s history with heart disease put me at greater risk of developing the disease?
  • Should I be taking an aspirin or any medication to reduce my risks?
  • (if in your 40’s or 50’s) Should I be concerned about menopause and its effects on my body and heart?
  • When should I consider having cardiovascular tests like an EKG to determine my heart’s health?

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

  • High Blood Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking/Tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity – lack of physical exercise
  • Stress
  • Alcohol/Recreational Drug use
  • Age
  • Family History

Warning Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

  • Pressure, squeezing, burning, achiness, tightness or discomfort in the chest – these can last for a few minutes and go away, or they can be constant and build in severity
  • Pain that travels down one or both arms
  • Jaw pain
  • Nausea
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Tired feeling
  • Anxiety
  • Back pain
  • Shortness of breath

Women can experience these, but many female heart attack survivors report experiencing uncommon symptoms like nervousness, swelling in the ankles or legs, teeth/jaw pain, nausea, flu-like symptoms, and even women’s intuition that something is not right in the body.

If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, call 9-1-1 for assistance. And, please do not put yourself and others at risk by driving to the doctor or hospital.

Heathy Living for Your Healthy Heart:

  1. Get Active
  2. Healthy Diet
  3. Manage Blood Pressure
  4. Manage Cholesterol
  5. Manage Blood Sugar
  6. Lose Weight
  7. Stop Smoking
  8. Know Your Family History