Did you know that women are naturally at a higher risk for heart disease? It’s true. And heart disease is the #1 killer in women. But the good news is that 80% of cardiac events (such as cardiac arrest, heart attack, stroke) are preventable. Do you know the top signs of heart disease?
We’ve listed the warning signs, along with tips on managing them:
High Blood Pressure: What’s your blood pressure? The American Heart Association has new blood pressure guidelines, and ideal blood pressure should fall under 120/80. If it’s regularly high, you need to monitor closely, and work with your healthcare provider on the best way to manage your blood pressure.
Smoking: Smoking is known to be generally bad for your health, but did you know that it can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke by 2-4 times?! Nicotine causes your blood pressure and heart rate to skyrocket, and the carbon monoxide deprives your vascular system of oxygen. Since women are already at a higher risk for heart disease, quitting smoking is important to helping reduce your risk.
Lack of Activity or Obesity: Physical activity is essential for all of us, and research shows that children who get 60 minutes of vigorous activity a day tend to grow up to be adults who continue this good habit (which, you guessed it, helps prevent heart disease!). Physical activity is also essential in controlling your weight. Losing as few as 10 pounds can help lower your risk for heart disease. So, get yourself and your kids moving to build a lifetime of healthy habits.
High Blood Cholesterol: You can see your doctor regularly and get clear health screenings and not know your cholesterol is high – and many women don’t get it checked! LDL cholesterol can build up in your arteries, causing blockages and increasing your risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Cholesterol guidelines can be complex, so working with your healthcare provider to monitor your specific cholesterol levels is important. The first step is getting tested!
Diabetes: Diabetes is a complex disease that can lead to a host of risks for other health conditions. Some of the warning signs of diabetes can also be risk factors for Heart Disease. If you are concerned that you may be diabetic, contact your health provider to get tested and get help managing your health.
In women, the risk for heart disease is not constrained to specific ages – women young and old, seemingly at the height of health can suffer the effects. Take control of your health by knowing your risks. Learn the 5 Questions you need to ask your physician.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one are experiencing a cardiac event, call 9-1-1 or come to Neighbors Emergency Center or ER as soon as possible. Fast action saves lives.