Heart Disease Prevention Tips for Women
Ways You Can Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
It may be unknown to many, but ischemic heart disease (which occurs when the heart does not get sufficient blood flow) is the second leading cause of death among women. It is estimated that roughly 30,000 Filipino women die from this dreaded disease annually.
While we may be accustomed to the signs indicating a heart disease for men (e.g., pain in the left, tightness in the chest), women actually experience different symptoms. This is why many women fail to recognize the incident as a heart attack. Only half of heart disease cases in women are identified early, whereas a nearly 80% detection rate in men.
In celebration of Philippine heart month, we want to help women recognize the warning signs for heart disease that they should look out for.
Signs and Symptoms of Heart Disease in Women
Like men, women experience chest pain or discomfort during heart attacks. However, there are other types of symptoms that may occur depending on the person affected by heart disease. Women may experience symptoms that are not often associated with heart disease or heart failure, making it difficult to identify. Heart disease in women is often called a "silent killer," because it is difficult to detect if no screening is done. As such, women should be aware of any possible symptoms so they can seek medical attention immediately when necessary.
The following are the most common symptoms of heart disease in women, along with some possible causes:
• Shortness of breath (unexplained)
• Dizziness or lightheadedness
• Pain or discomfort in neck, jaw, shoulder, and arm (may radiate to back and stomach)
• Cough, cold sweats, and nausea
• Unusual fatigue or weakness (especially on exertion such as climbing stairs)
• Loss of appetite and insomnia
There are various risk factors that can also contribute to the advancement of heart disease in women, few of these include:
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Excessive alcohol intake
Ways to Reduce Risk of Heart Disease in Women
Heart disease in women can be prevented by reducing risk factors and having regular check-ups with your doctor. One way you can do this is by cutting out smoking (even secondhand smoke) and drinking. It is also necessary to maintain a healthy weight and follow a heart-healthy diet that contains plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fish.
The following are some helpful tips to get started:
• Limit sodium intake to 2300 milligrams per day
• Consume at least five servings of fruit or vegetables daily, the more colors the better
• Include "good" fat in diet (such as omega-3 fatty acid from fish, avocadoes, or nuts)
• Have a heart healthy diet which entails limiting the intake of saturated and trans fats that can lead to increased cholesterol levels
• Do regular workouts including moderate aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling, or dancing
• Walk for at least 30 minutes daily
• Get enough sleep
As the old saying goes, prevention is better than the cure. Take to heart (pun intended) the prevention of heart disease tips for women so you can live your best life!
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