Project Description

Women & Heart Disease

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Women & Heart Disease

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Indulgence for body and mind

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, killing 292,188 women in 2009—that’s 1 in every 4 female deaths

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for African American and Caucasian women in the United States
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease

Symptoms

While some women have no symptoms, others experience Angina (dull, heavy to sharp chest pain or discomfort), pain in the neck/jaw/throat or pain in the upper abdomen or back. These may occur during rest, begin during physical activity, or be triggered by mental stress.

  • Heart Attack: Chest pain or discomfort, upper back pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea/vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, and shortness of breath.
  • Arrhythmia: Fluttering feelings in the chest (palpitations).
  • Heart Failure: Shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling of the feet/ankles/legs/abdomen.
  • Stroke: Sudden weakness, paralysis (inability to move) or numbness of the face/arms/legs, especially on one side of the body.
  • Other symptoms may include: confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech, difficulty seeing in one or both eyes, shortness of breath, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, loss of consciousness, or sudden and severe headache.

Risk Factors

High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are the leading risks for heart disease. Others include:

  • Diabetes
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use

Screening

To reduce your chances of getting heart disease it’s important to:

  • Know your blood pressure. Having uncontrolled blood pressure can result in heart disease. High blood pressure has no symptoms so it’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should be tested for diabetes. Having uncontrolled diabetes raises your chances of heart disease. Also you should discuss your overall risks factors and consider Cardio-Vascular Screening if recommended
  • Quit smoking
  • Discuss checking your cholesterol and triglycerides with your healthcare provider
  • Make healthy food choices. Being overweight and obese raises your risk of heart disease
  • Limit alcohol intake to one drink a day
  • Lower your stress level and find healthy ways to cope with stress