Be My Valentine: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart

January 30, 2020

Be My Valentine: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart
Be My Valentine: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart
The American Heart Association designates Friday, February 7, National Wear Red Day®, a day to dedicated to raising awareness about and support for the movement to end of heart disease and stroke in women.
Although surveys show that few women think of heart disease as a big threat to their health, it is the number one killer of women in the United States. With over a third of women dying of heart disease, more women die of it each year than breast cancer.
Heart disease prevention is important at all ages
The buildup of plaque in arteries can start as early as your teen years, so it is important to be mindful of the things that contribute to good health, including exercise and healthy eating.  Your primary care provider can help you get on the right path to cardiac health.

Your healthcare provider may check your cholesterol and blood pressure as well as assess your medical history and your family’s medical history. High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and family history are contributors to heart disease. While family history cannot be changed, if you have high blood pressure or high LDL cholesterol, your healthcare provider can help you devise a plan to get those levels back to a healthy range.

Maintaining a healthy weight can help you reduce your risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol, which ultimately helps lower your risk of heart disease. Exercise is also an important factor, even for women in a healthy weight range. Aim for at least 30 to 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity four to 5 days a week.

Smokers have double the risk of experiencing heart attacks compared to non-smokers. The best thing to do is not to start smoking in the first place. However, smokers can reduce their chances of heart disease by quitting ASAP.

Ask Saint Peter’s – Heart Disease in Women 
Know the symptoms of a heart attack
Women are more likely to die of a heart attack compared to men, with the risk of heart attack and stroke increasing during post-menopause.

A woman’s heart attack symptoms are different from a man’s. Knowing the difference can be a matter of life and death. In addition to chest pain, women are likely to experience other symptoms such as:
  1. -Shortness of breath
  2. -Pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. -Nausea and vomiting
  4. -Heavy pressure on the chest
  5. -Cold sweats unrelated to menopause
  6. -Dizziness or lightheadedness
  7. -Sudden tiredness (fatigue)
Cardiac rehabilitation can be a lifesaver
For anyone who has heart disease or experienced a heart attack, cardiac rehabilitation is usually recommended to promote heart recovery and prepare the body to handle daily tasks to prevent more heart attacks.

Overseen by a team of healthcare providers including cardiologists, primary care providers, nurses, dieticians, physical therapists, a cardiac rehab program includes exercise programs, stress management, occupational therapy, and nutrition counseling.
Saint Peter’s Healthcare System offers a variety of services to help you maintain your heart health and get back to normal activities after a heart attack. Patients interested in learning more about hear health should speak to their Saint Peter’s primary care physician – book appointment here:

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