More women die from heart disease than from any other cause—a staggering one in four American women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The risk of heart disease increases with age and with conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. However, younger women can also develop heart disease. Heart disease can lead to serious or fatal health issues such as a heart attack or stroke. Take action now to help prevent problems. Even small changes can help.
- Manage current health conditions. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol can increase your risk for heart disease. Talk to your health care provider to confirm the best treatment plan.
- Recognize symptoms of a heart attack in women—and call 9-1-1 if needed. Symptoms in women can be different than those in men—and include shortness of breath, nausea, and an ache or feeling of tightness in the chest, arm, neck, jaw or abdomen.
- Do regular physical activity and maintain a healthy weight. You don’t need to complete all activity at one set time—and you can do helpful exercise even when you can’t get to the gym. A walk around the block is a good way to start.
- Make heart-healthy food choices. Eat fruits or vegetables with each meal—and limit saturated fat and sugary beverages like soda. If you choose to eat meats, choose the leanest cuts available and prepare them in healthy ways. The Nutrition Facts label can tell you key information about the packaged foods you eat, and it includes details about serving sizes and nutrients like fat and sugar. You can check with your health care provider to confirm the food choices best for you.
- If you smoke, try to quit. Studies show those who quit smoking cut their incidence of cardiovascular disease in half compared to those who continued to smoke. Other benefits to kicking the habit of smoking include improved breathing and lung health and reducing the risk of cancer, stroke, osteoporosis and more.
Make a plan and take action for your heart health today!