Women and Heart Disease
Information from Columbus Public Health:
A lot of people think it is mostly men that suffer from heart disease, but more women in the U.S. die from heart disease than from any other disease. Here in Franklin County, heart disease is the second leading cause of death for women following cancer (ODH, 2008-2010).
The older a woman gets, the more likely she is to get heart disease. But women of all ages should know the risk factors and take steps to prevent it with healthy lifestyle habits.
Know the Risk Factors
• high blood pressure
• high cholesterol
• being overweight or obese
• being physically inactive
• age (55 or older for women)
• family history
Talk to your doctor about your risk factors for developing heart disease. If your risk is high, Commit to lower it.
• Be active every day.
• Find out what a healthy weight is for you and try to stay at that weight. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about a healthy weight goal.
• Eat balanced meals that include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein.
• Eat low-sodium foods and do not add salt to foods.
• Quit using tobacco.
• Find ways to lower stress through exercise, stretching or meditation.
Know the Signs
Both men and women can have chest pain when having a heart attack, but symptoms for women can be more subtle. According to the American Health Association, women may feel:
• Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
• Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
• Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
• Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
• Women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
Check out the full story at www.heart.org (link to http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/WarningSignsofaHeartAttack/Heart-Attack-Symptoms-in-Women_UCM_436448_Article.jsp)
FDA: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ByAudience/ForWomen/ucm118528.htm; CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/women/heart/ ; NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; AHA: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/WarningSignsofaHeartAttack/Heart-Attack-Symptoms-in-Women_UCM_436448_Article.jsp; Local data source: Ohio Department of Health Vital Statistics, Analysis by Office of Epidemiology, Columbus Public Health.