Friday is Go Red for Women Day. If you feel like supporting awareness about heart disease and stroke for women, wear red to show it. Heart disease and stroke causes 1 in 3 deaths for women each year, which means about one woman dies from the diseases every 80 seconds, according to the American Heart Association.
Heart disease is big problem for both men and women, isn’t it?
Nationally, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. In Idaho, it is the second leading cause of death for men and women, after cancer. It’s a close second, though, and the statistics are alarming: 1 in 31 women dies from breast cancer each year, but heart disease kills 1 in 3.
Are the heart attack symptoms different for women?
Just like men, the most common symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are more likely to have other symptoms, including shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, and back or jaw pain. If you have any of these symptoms and think you might be having a heart attack, call 911 immediately and get to a hospital. More than half of the women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms.
If heart disease runs in your family, is there anything you can do about it?
Anyone with a family history has a higher risk, but there are several things you can do to counteract it. Making smart choices about your health now will pay off for the rest of your life. Exercise when you can, and choose healthy foods whenever possible.
So what are the steps you can take to reduce your risk?
If you smoke, quitting smoking is the No. 1 thing you can do to reduce your risk for heart disease. Visit www.projectfilter.org or call 1-800-QUITNOW for coaching and free patches, gum, or lozenges.
That’s good advice. What else?
Other tips include getting regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and eating a healthy diet. Watch your portion sizes and incorporate more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meat, fish and nuts into your diet. You should try to avoid red meat, foods that are high in sodium and added sugar, and processed foods.
Is it possible to “know your risk?”
The best way to understand your risk is through regular medical checkups, where you’ll get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked and you can develop a heart health plan with your doctor. Early detection is very important when it comes to preventing and treating heart disease. When you know your risk, you can start making healthy changes to your lifestyle to reduce it.