February is Heart Health Month

Lower Your Risk for the Number 1 Killer of Women

Heart disease is still the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a "man's disease," around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the United States. Despite the progress we have made within the last 10 years, such as nearly 90% of women have made at least one healthy behavior change, 6 out of 10 women have changed their diets, more than one-third of women have lost weight, more than 50% of women have increased their exercise, and death in women has decreased by more than 30 percent, 1 in 4 American women continue to die of heart disease and stroke each year.

What You Can Do for Heart Health   https://tse2.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.M2cf8f7945c108ff09b1f599e129ee6ecH0&pid=15.1&P=0&w=300&h=300

Some conditions and lifestyle choices increase a person's chance for heart disease and stroke, including diabetes, cigarette smoking, overweight and obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol use. Risk factors that lead to heart disease often develop slowly over time and can take decades to develop. That is why it is important to make healthy lifestyle choices like eating healthystaying active and maintaining a healthy weight, at all stages in life.

Lower your chance of heart disease, heart attack and/or stroke by taking these simple steps:

  • Eat a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and incorporating low-fat dairy products, chicken, fish, legumes and nuts into ones diet. Choose foods low in cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
  • Exercise regularly. Adults need 2 hours and 30 minutes (or 150 minutes total) of exercise each week. You can spread your activity out during the week, and you can break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day, 10 minutes, 3x a day, 5 days a week.  
  • Quit smoking. If you are ready to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569 for Spanish speakers)
  • Limit alcohol use, which can lead to long-term health problems, including heart disease and cancer. Do so in moderation, which is no more than one drink a day for women. Do not drink at all if you are pregnant.
  • Know your numbers-blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, check with your healthcare provider.  
  • Test for diabetes with your healthcare provider. Having uncontrolled diabetes raises your chances of heart disease.
  • Lower your stress level and find healthy ways to cope with stress.

Heart Attack Signs in Women   https://tse4.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.Mb28c8d0cd9ee1769e94e2ba11e541f37H0&pid=15.1&P=0&w=300&h=300https://tse2.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.YhJgAf-H0D9vya0CfPD1sAEGEs&pid=15.1&P=0&w=300&h=300

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.

Signs that you may be having a stroke:

  1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  3. Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  5. Sudden severe headache with no known cause

You should never wait more than five minutes to dial 9-1-1 if you experience even one of the signs above. Remember, you could be having a stroke even if you’re not experiencing all of the symptoms. And remember to check the time. The responding emergency medical technician or ER nurse at the hospital will need to know when the first symptom occurred.