Maintaining a Healthy Heart BlogOn this Valentine’s Day, celebrate those in your life that you love the – and be sure to celebrate you! Take good care of your heart. February is a great month to evaluate your heart health and make sure you are taking steps towards maintaining a healthy heart. Almost all women are at risk for heart disease and should be proactive about lowering their risks. According to the Center for Disease Control, heart disease is the number one cause of death in women across all ethnic groups. Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.

It is very important for women to know the symptoms of a heart attack.  Common symptoms include:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

The most common heart attack symptom in men and women is chest pain or discomfort. However, it is important to note that women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.  (GoRedForWomen.org)

The good news is that most cardiovascular disease is preventable! A healthy heart future starts with the American Heart Association’s guidelines listed below:

  • Know and control your blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
  • Don’t smoke. Avoid second hand smoke and other environmental air pollution.
  • Engage in regular exercise and physical activity.
  • Consume a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fiber, fish, vitamins, and calcium.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Curb alcohol intake.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Women 65 and older may take a low dose aspirin daily. (Consult your physician before starting.)
  • Schedule regular checkups with your health care provider.
  • Be aware of your family history and share it with your health care provider.
  • Know heart disease symptoms so you can detect problems early.
  • Eliminate stress producers and maintain a strong social support network.

For more information about heart disease, visit http:// www.goredforwomen.org.  and The American Heart Association at http://www.heart.org/.

Did you or someone you know experience any unusual symptoms before a heart attack?