By Samuetta Hill Drew
Heart Disease and Women is typically a topic addressed in a health article versus a safety article, but in the spirit of Valentine’s Day let’s view this topic with our safety awareness lenses. After all, 2016 safety theme is awareness and what’s more important for our moms, daughters, sisters, and other female love ones than being aware of the correlation between heart disease and women. Certainly knowledge about this correlation can better equip women to keep themselves in a possible “safe zone” regarding this topic since heart attacks are the number one killer of women not cancer! Let’s explore safety measures which can be implemented to help women prevent heart attacks and dispel some of the myths. Many health care professionals believe heart disease in women is preventable if women make better choses to keep their hearts safer.
Safety Awareness Information:
- High Blood Pressure is a leading risk factor for death in women in the United States, contributing to nearly 200,000 female deaths each year. Therefore, it is vitally important to closely monitor and reduce your daily sodium (salt) intake. Read the sodium content labels contained on all foods you purchase at the supermarket and select those which have a lower content. 65% of our sodium comes from foods we purchase and 25% comes from foods we eat while dining out.
- Don’t ignore heart problems. Make yourself aware of the warning signs because they differ between women and men. Signs are uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest (this is common in both men and women). If it last more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back, seek immediate medical attention (call 911). Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach are other signs as well as shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. Other signs can be breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
- As women grow older there is an increase chance of contracting heart disease, but it can affect younger women also. The combination of birth control pills and smoking will increase contracting heart disease by 20%. A sedentary lifestyle at any age can cause plague to accumulate and lead to clogged arties.
- Women, who engage in yoga, run marathons and exercise regularly, can still be at risk for heart disease. You can be thin and have high cholesterol. The American Heart Association suggests that women begin checking their cholesterol at the age of 20, or earlier if you have a family history.
- 64% of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous signs. Because these symptoms vary greatly between men and women, they’re often misunderstood. Extreme fatigue, indigestion, dizziness, flu symptoms, shortness of breath and upper back muscle pain are often more prevalent signs for women.
Regardless of your age, gender, ethnicity, or family history let’s Keep an Eye on Safety for our hearts by creating a Heart Safety Plan which should include better food choices, exercise, checking risk factors frequently and keeping ourselves aware.