Is Your Heart Healthy? 5 Heart Disease Prevention Tips for Women
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In women’s health, there is a huge focus on cancer detection and prevention, and rightfully so. However, what many don’t know is that the number one killer for women is actually heart disease.
Unfortunately, new studies are showing that the lack of focus on the dangers of heart disease among women could be increasing their risk. In fact, as a recent New York Times article notes, though the number of deaths from heart-related illnesses has decreased overall, its signs and symptoms are on the rise among young women.
One of the best ways women can protect themselves is to be knowledgeable about their risk level and what they can do to decrease it. Here are a few tips:
Know the symptoms of a heart attack. For women, the signs of a heart attack can be subtle. As a result, they aren’t always recognized for what they are. According to the American Heart Association, in addition to chest pain, symptoms such as back or jaw pain, nausea/vomiting, and shortness of breath are common factors for women to experience.
Via Flickr – by Ted Eytan
Focus on prevention. Eat a diet rich in antioxidants and low in saturated fats. Be sure you’re getting enough sleep—usually 7-8 hours each night for adults. Exercise daily, if you can, for 30 – 60 minutes. And stop smoking. These are all key components of a heart healthy lifestyle.
Understand the happiness connection. As this WebMD.com article notes, a review from Harvard School of Public Health found that happier people were at a lower risk for heart disease. So, be sure to incorporate activities you enjoy into your daily life.
Find ways to de-stress. Juggling work and family can be overwhelming, and the stress caused by daily life can be hard on your heart—raising your blood pressure, increasing your heart rate, and leading to increased levels of stress hormones. Carve out some time each day to breathe deep and relax.
Via Flickr – by Take Back Your Health Conference
Don’t hesitate to voice your concerns to your doctor. Let your doctor know you’re interested in learning more about your personal risk for heart disease. Make sure you understand test results, such as your cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Ask questions about anything that isn’t clear, and work with your doctor to get other health issues, such as diabetes and depression, under control.
Simply being aware of your risk can make an incredible difference. By taking these steps, you can pave the way to a long, healthy, and active life.