Heart disease is the number one killer in America. According to the American Heart Association, it is also the number one cause of death in American women. It has been given the notorious title of a woman’s ‘greatest health threat’.
The stats are indeed scary! Heart disease claims the lives of 1 in 3 women. Approximately 400,000 lives are lost to it every year, and usually, it is one death each minute. Read on to find out how you can keep this killer at bay.
1. KNOW THE SYMPTOMS
You should know the common symptoms of a heart attack and stroke. The two are the cause of most CVD (Cardiovascular Disease) deaths. Generally, most women experience common symptoms like chest pain, chest pressure and shortness of breath. However, unlike their male counterparts, women may have other symptoms. These may not seem like typical heart attack symptoms and may be ignored, which can be fatal. Some of these symptoms are:
- back pain on the left side of the body,
- shoulder pain,
- jaw or neck pain,
- fullness in the stomach,
- indigestion and
- extreme fatigue
Symptoms typical of a stroke are very different from a heart attack and usually are:
- face drooping (one side of the face drooping or being numb),
- speech difficulty (slurred words) and
- arm weakness (one arm being weak or numb)
Hint: Call an emergency telephone number or your health provider if you have any of these symptoms.
2. HAVE ANNUAL CHECKUPS
Have a routine checkup with your doctor once a year. Your doctor will be able to find out if you are at risk of any heart disease. If you are, he or she will take the necessary corrective action. You have to be proactive about these checkups or visits to the doctor. Prepare for the appointment and be prepared to give very vital information like any family history of heart disease when asked. You also need to know your key health numbers like your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
3. SLEEP WELL
Research has shown that getting less than six hours of night sleep is associated with heart disease. Lack of sleep can lead to high blood pressure. So make sure you catch your z’s.
Hint: Speak to your GP if you are suffering from insomnia or any other sleep disorders that make it difficult for you to sleep.
4. GET A HEALTH PARTNER
Your journey to achieving heart health doesn’t have to be a lonely one. Team up with people like friends, co-workers and family who share similar health goals as you do. They will help you build heart-healthy habits like exercising regularly and eating healthily. Moreover, get your health care provider to draw up a treatment or preventive plan that suits your lifestyle and medical needs.
5. REDUCE STRESS
You should be concerned about your stress levels. Chronic stress can lead to behaviours that cause heart disease, like inactivity and overeating. Moreover, chronic stress impacts the risk factors for heart disease. For instance, it causes high blood pressure.
You can reduce stress by trying out one of many relaxation techniques, yoga and meditation being the easiest and most common. Also, eat healthily, exercise regularly and sleep well. Additionally, it helps to talk over your issues with a friend, parent or therapist.
6. INFORM YOUR GP OF ANY PAST PREGNANCY COMPLICATIONS
If you had any health issues when you were pregnant, do tell your GP all about it. Recent studies have put forward diabetes and hypertension during pregnancy, and early delivery as possible risk factors for heart disease.
Disclaimer: The information shared by this post is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be professional medical advice nor a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician concerning anything you have read here.
GreatWonderful proudly supports the American Heart Association’s signature initiative, Go Red for Women, this February, the American Heart Month.
By Nana Ama Afoa Osae I Writer I GreatWonderful Team
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