Avoiding Heart Disease

Though there is no magic pill or a surgery that can undo the damage of heart disease, medicines and medical procedures are available that will enable you to live with the disease. By following certain healthy lifestyle choices, women can take steps to avoid the development of heart disease. It is just as important for women to know the first signs of a heart attack so that quick medical attention will minimize the damage to her arteries.

What is heart disease?

Coronary heart disease can cause a heart attack, a stroke or angina. It is a disorder of the heart and of the blood vessel system which is very prevalent in women who have heart disease. Arteries become blocked or significantly narrowed. Nutrients and oxygen is prevented from getting into the heart. Other heart diseases include arrhythmia, heart infections and congenital heart defects. They can hurt heart muscles, valves and can cause an irregular heart beat.

Differing heart attack symptoms for women

Many people are aware that if they have excruciating chest pains that they are most likely having a heart attack. A lot of times it is different for women. When a woman’s main arteries are blocked, it is not unusual for her to have also developed small vessel heart disease. This means her small arteries are blocked, making her symptoms drastically different than men’s. Not knowing these symptoms often causes women to wait too long in receiving medical attention and making permanent damage more probable. Paralysis or death can ensue.

If you start having these symptoms for no reason, get medical help immediately:

  1. Abdominal discomfort or shoulder, neck or upper back pain
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Vomiting or an upset stomach
  4. Dizziness, lightheadedness or sweating
  5. Unusually tired

Risk factors for women developing heart disease

  1. Being obese, having high blood pressure and cholesterol are common risk factors for men and women. However, in women, having high levels of blood sugar, blood pressure and triglycerides are higher risks factors for having a heart attack.
  2. Stress and depression influences a woman’s lifestyle more than a man’s. It becomes harder for her to maintain a healthy lifestyle in eating nutritious foods regularly and to exercise the amount needed.
  3. After menopause, the lower levels of estrogen can increase the risk of a heart attack.
  4. Smoking is a big risk factor for woman in developing coronary heart disease.

Ways to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease

  1. Watch your weight. Eat foods that are low in sodium, low in saturated fats and contain low levels of cholesterol. Eat healthy vegetables and foods that have high vitamin levels.
  2. Exercise 30 to 60 minutes every day. This will help lower stress and depression while giving your body a good physical workout. Talk with your doctor before starting new exercise programs or over the counter drugs.
  3. After menopause, ask your doctor about any concerns with your estrogen level.
  4. Stop smoking or do not start.

Nearly 34 percent of white women in our country are living with cardiovascular heart disease along with almost 50 percent of African American women. These statistics count for one in three woman who have some form of cardiovascular disease. In the past 25 years, the rate of heart disease among men has steadily decreased. Unfortunately, the declining rate for woman has not been as successful. Be mindful of the tips here to help you avoid the disease.

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