Understand your risk factors and take action … before you have a heart attack.
The American College of Cardiology reported young women with heart attacks are more likely to die than men. Part of this scenario is because many women do not experience the classic symptoms of chest pressure, arm, or jaw pain. Women are also more likely to report stomach symptoms, fatigue or shortness of breath instead of chest pressure when a coronary artery is closing. Without the proper diagnosis, life-saving interventions including stents to open a closing artery are delayed or not performed.
In a study evaluating women under age 55, Yale researchers found half the women believed they were healthy prior to a heart attack. Fewer women than men in the study had not received education from their care providers regarding risks for heart disease. Many of the women had modifiable risks and only 22% of them received information about heart disease and how to reduce their risks.
Nearly half of women in a 2012 survey did not report heart disease as a leading cause of death, yet they considered themselves well-informed on female health issues. Read a quick take on statistics and how you can identify and reduce your risks.
Excerpt from Your Heart book:
Women and Heart Disease
Many women do not realize they are at high risk for heart disease and early death. Under age 50, heart attacks in women are twice as likely to be fatal as in men. Each year more than 250,000 women die of heart attacks. Six times the number of women die from heart disease than from breast cancer. Many factors weigh into these statistics including hormones.
♥ Research reported in the National Institutes of Health bulletin, The Heart Truth for Women, states that by leading a healthy lifestyle, women can lower risks by 82%. You are in charge. This means: regular exercise, healthy weight and not smoking. Also take medications to control other risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. What you choose to do and what you eat can improve health and prolong life.
Five risk factors both men and women can modify and reduce their risk for dying from a heart attack:
• High cholesterol
• Smoking, tobacco use
• High blood pressure
What to do about these risks: See your physician for an evaluation
- Check your cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Treat cholesterol and blood pressure abnormalities with diet modification and medication.
- Stop all tobacco use.
- Keep blood glucose normal with diet and medication.
- Eat a Mediterranean diet and control your calorie intake. Consider the 5/2 diet for weight reduction (discussed in previous blogs on this website)
- Exercise at least 30 minutes each day.
Betty Kuffel, MD