Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year.
Heart disease affects the blood vessels and cardiovascular system resulting in numerous problems, many of which contribute to plaque buildup along the walls of the arteries. When plaque builds up it narrows the arteries making it harder for blood to flow through, if a clot forms it can stop the blood flow which can result in a heart attack or stroke.
Chest pain is common in both male and female heart attacks, but females are more likely to also experience other symptoms such as the ones listed below.
- Pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest lasting more than a few minutes
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, neck, jaw, stomach, or back.
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea, lightheadedness or sudden cold sweat
People with heart disease or history of heart attack are at more than twice the risk of stroke.
Signs and symptoms of stroke:
- Sudden numbness of weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Heart disease can also cause congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, or heart valve problems.
While some factors of heart disease are out of your control such as age, gender, race, and family history, there are things you can do to lessen your risk.
Living a healthy lifestyle is a major part of preventing heart disease.
- Don’t smoke
- Limit your exposure to second and thirdhand smoke
- Manage your blood sugar
- Lower your cholesterol
- Stay active
- This doesn’t mean you have to be in the gym multiple times a week. Try parking in the back of the lot, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or playing sports with friends and family.
- Eat healthy
- Sticking to a diet of lean protein and plenty of greens is sure to help keep your body in top shape.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- If you’re following the steps above, then maintaining a healthy weight should be an easy task. If you’re still having trouble, try incorporating weight training into your exercise routine.
- Control your blood pressure
If you have already been diagnosed with heart disease, know you’re not alone. 43 million women have heard the same diagnoses. The lifestyle changes people take to prevent heart disease aren’t unlike the ones that need to be taken to manage it. Heart disease does not have to bring you to a screeching halt, focus on living a healthy lifestyle and recovery will follow.