February is American Heart Month, and what better time to remind women about three things they absolutely need to know about heart disease.
Heart disease can affect women differently than men, and the symptoms of a heart attack may be less recognizable because those that men experience have been universally promoted.
Just think about what a heart attack looks like on TV: a person losing their breath and grabbing their chest in pain.
Well, that’s not necessarily how it goes for women. And considering that heart disease is the leading cause of death for U.S. women, accounting for one in three deaths (according to the American Heart Association (AHA)), it’s wise to know what to look for and what to do to prevent a heart attack.
During heart month, the AHA wants women to do three things: recognize the signs of heart attack, understand their personal risk factors, and make healthy lifestyle changes to prevent heart disease.
Know The Symptoms
Although women may experience some chest pain during a heart attack, it may not be the only or even the predominant symptom women feel. It won’t necessarily double you over like it may a man.
Instead, there may be pain in the jaw or pain that radiates around the back and up your neck. Shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, and a sense of unease may be there too.
Because many women aren’t aware these are symptoms, they often ignore them.
Know Your Risk
Heart disease risk factors include age, high blood pressure, cholesterol profile, activity levels, weight, and smoking/vaping.
Know How To Reduce the Risk
Taking action can help to reduce the risk of heart disease. Paying attention to blood pressure and managing cholesterol can be helpful. Try adding as little as 10-minutes of walking or activity each day.
Getting rid of processed food for fresh and nutritious foods can positively affect cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar, which can all play a role in heart attack risk.