The month of February makes us think of romantic affairs of the heart, but the American Heart Association would like us to focus on keeping our hearts healthy by designating February as American Heart month.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year and now is the time to educate yourself and the women you love to help prevent the disease that kills more women than the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer.
As alarming as those statistics may be, 80 percent of cardiac events in women could be prevented if women made the right choices for their hearts.
The situation is alarming, but there is good news—heart disease is preventable and controllable. We can start by taking small steps every day to bring our loved ones and ourselves closer to heart health. These small steps are easy to incorporate into your everyday so start today!
One Step at a Time
As you begin your journey to better heart health, keep these things in mind:
- Don’t become overwhelmed. Every step brings you closer to a healthier heart.
- Don’t go it alone. The journey is more fun when you have company. Ask friends and family to join you.
- Don’t get discouraged. You may not be able to take all of the steps at one time. Get a good night’s sleep and do what you can tomorrow.
- Reward yourself. Find fun things to do to decrease your stress. Round up some colleagues for a lunchtime walk, join a singing group, or have a healthy dinner with your family or friends.
Risk Factors – Several medical conditions and lifestyle choices can put women at a higher risk for heart disease, including:
- High cholesterol
- Cigarette smoking
- Physical inactivity
- Alcohol use
Heart Attack Symptoms -It’s also important to know the signs of an impending heart attack, because they can start slowly and symptoms may seem mild. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, these are the signs that may mean a heart attack is in progress.
Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
Shortness of breath. May occur with or without chest discomfort.
Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.
Share the healthy ways you take care of your heart!