Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in women in the USA, with 1 in 3 women above the age of 35 suffering from the disease. In the last decade, society has become more aware of the conceivable threat of Heart Disease, so why are some women in denial about its potential severity? What can responsible women do to be aware of the dangers and lessen the risk of getting the disease?
The American Heart Association has numerous stories of women who were in denial they could potentially have heart disease, putting their symptoms down to stress or another explanation. So what should women do to avoid a potential catastrophe and what are the early indications? (Please note an individual may only have a few ticks on this list)
- Family history of heart disease
- High Cholesterol LDL (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol)
- Overweight/obese (note this is not always the case with victims)
- Poor diet
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- High blood pressure
DON’T IGNORE THE SIGNS
There may be a number of warning signs that should not be ignored and noticing these signs could be a matter of life and death. Call 911 if any of the following symptoms lasts longer than two minutes:
- Chest pain
- Discomfort in the chest
- Body pain, including arms, chest, back, neck, jaw
- Shortness of breath
HOW TO HELP PREVENT HEART DISEASE
There are a number of steps which can be taken, to help prevent heart disease. Following these actions could not only lead to a fuller and healthier lifestyle but may potentially save lives.
- Knowing family history.
- Visit a wellness clinic once a year.
- Oral contraceptives may contribute to higher blood pressure, and doctors may offer alternative methods.
- Lower stress levels
- Regular physical activity
- Quitting smoking
- Cutting back on alcohol consumption
- Make healthy food choices by eating more vegetables, whole grains, legumes. Eat more fish and less red meat.
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water (no soda)
- Avoid trans fat and limit saturated fat
- Smaller food portions
- Reduce sugar and salt intake
Diabetes and being over weight were previously thought to be the main cause of heart disease in women (www.bmj.com). There are numerous studies into heart disease in women showing there may also be other factors involved. The University of Sweden; state that calcium supplements may also have an effect on heart disease in women. Sufferers of (AF), Atrial fibrillation have also been placed on a higher risk list. Current research also looked into the BCAR1 gene (GG Version), which when combined with high levels of estrogen, could lead to a greater risk of heart disease. Due to the severity of the disease and how many women it kills each year, there are always new scientific investigations and being aware of the latest studies provides knowledge and understanding in help fighting this disease.
Taking care of health, being informed of family history and taking preventative measures may keep the heart healthy and could just save a life.