Women’s Heart Health

//Women’s Heart Health

Women’s Heart Health

Women’s Heart HealthThe heart is a well-known symbol of Valentine’s Day, but how much do you really know about women’s heart health?

Heart disease isn’t just for men, it does occur in women. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in this country. Most heart disease is caused by coronary artery disease, a condition that develops when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries – the vessels that supply blood to the heart.

Plaque is a fatty, waxy substance caused by high levels of cholesterol circulating in the blood. Plaque accumulates in the coronary arteries and hardens, obstructing blood flow to the heart. When oxygenated blood flow to the heart is reduced, it leads to angina (chest pain) and eventually, heart attack.

There are some important things a woman can do to keep her heart healthy, including:

  • Follow a heart healthy diet – reduce the amount of salt or sodium in your diet and choose low-fat food options. Avoid sugary foods and drinks and increase your intake of lean meats, vegetables and fruits
  • Address health issues – if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or other health conditions, take your medications regularly and talk with your OBGYN about ways to manage or improve your health – especially during pregnancy
  • Stop smoking – smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease. Ask your gynecologist about ways to quit
  • Get moving – staying active is an important part of weight control and can help improve blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
  • Lose weight – if you are overweight, talk with your OBGYN about developing a weight loss plan. Reducing your total body weight by just 5 to 10 percent has been shown to improve blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Since women’s heart attack symptoms are different from men’s, they aren’t always recognized. Call for emergency help if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Intense pressure or pain in the chest, arms, neck, jaw, back or upper stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain that radiates to the shoulders, neck or arms
  • Unexplained light-headedness, fainting, sweating or nausea

If you are at risk for heart attack, talk with your doctor about whether or not you would benefit from an aspirin regimen. Don’t start aspirin without your doctor’s consent, since it can interfere with some medications and increase the risk of bleeding.

By | 2017-04-28T20:53:27+00:00 February 12th, 2016|Info|Comments Off on Women’s Heart Health