Being a woman doesn't give you a free pass from heart disease. In fact, heart disease is the #1 killer of women over the age of 35 in the United States.1 What's more startling, however, is that nearly two-thirds of the deaths from heart attacks in women occur among those who have no history of chest pain.
While women can still experience chest pain, many have milder symptoms that may not be obvious red flags of a heart attack. Shortness of breath, a sudden onset of extreme weakness that feels like the flu, nausea and vomiting, and back and jaw pain are some of the symptoms in disguise for women who may be experiencing a heart attack.
But heart attacks aren't the only risk women face. Stroke and other cardiovascular diseases can also strike. You can control some risk factors of heart disease such as maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly, but some are beyond your control, such as age and family health history. That's why we take matters of the heart very seriously.
Below we've identified some things you can do to lower the risk of heart disease for yourself:
- Stop Smoking - Smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease among women, but it is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States.
- Lower Cholesterol - High blood cholesterol is another major risk of heart disease and significantly increases the risk of stroke.
- Lower Blood Pressure - High blood pressure is the #1 cause of stroke and another important risk factor in heart disease. Women who are obese, have a family history of high blood pressure, are pregnant, take certain types of birth control, or reach menopause have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure.
- Get Moving - Lack of physical exercise is also a determining risk factor in heart attack or stroke. Try doing at least 10 minutes of physical exercise three times a day. Going for a brisk walk, taking the stairs at work and parking further away are all great ways to get started.
For more information, please refer to our Heart Services section or call (765) 983-3255.