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Women & Heart Disease: Know Your Heart and Protect Your Heath

Cardiovascular or heart disease is any disorder that affects the heart’s ability to function normally. Types of heart disease include coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and valvular disease.

An estimated 42 million American women live with heart disease, but many are unaware of the danger they may face.

Know the Risk Factors

High blood pressure, high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors. Other risk factors include:

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Eating an unhealthy diet

  • Physical inactivity

  • Too much alcohol consumption

Know the Warning Signs

The most common warning signs of heart disease in women are:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of your chest. It may last a few minutes or go away & come back.

  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.

  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

Women may also experience less obvious symptoms including:

  • Discomfort in the back, shoulders, arms, stomach, jaw, neck, or throat

  • Indigestion

  • Palpitations

  • Unexplained fatigue

  • Generalized pressure in the chest

Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Once heart disease develops, it’s a lifelong condition that will gradually worsen unless lifestyle changes are made. Fortunately, women may be able to lower heart disease risk by more than 80 percent by making healthy lifestyle choices. These include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight by exercising.

  • Managing high blood pressure.

  • Managing stress.

  • Knowing your family history.

  • Lowering total cholesterol to less than 200 mg/dL.

  • Not smoking and limiting alcohol.

  • Maintaining a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Check On Your Health

It’s important to get your annual check-up to keep tabs on your health and get ahead of any health concerns. If you need a primary care provider, visit Advanced Healthcare.

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