February is Heart Awareness Month
One woman’s heart tale
Beatrice Flores is recovering from cardiac aneurysm events. Her story is one of many regarding women and heart disease. She had one of the main risk factors in Cardiovascular Disease – high blood pressure. She recognized she wasn’t feeling well and was experiencing symptoms that are not the same for men. Men will experience pain and pressure in the chest, shoulders, and arms. Women may or may not have these same signs. Here are the typical ways for women to tell if her heart may be in trouble:
How did my “heart-break”?
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) which, includes heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, is the number one killer of women and men. However, there are more women who succumb to CVD because they are not aware of the signs their heart may be in trouble. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates CVD cost over $300 billion each year in healthcare services, medications, and lost productivity.
Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease
Understanding the risk means knowing your family history. Did anyone in your family suffer from high blood pressure? Did anyone in your family suffer from a stroke? How many people in your family have had heart attacks? These are all the questions you should get answered to understand your risk for CVD. Sylvia Moore from Cardiology and Interventional Vascular Specialists (CIVA) says, ” A women with a strong family history of cardiovascular disease is at risk and she should make certain her doctor does know that.” Ethnicity also plays a part in whether you might have a heart attack or stroke. Nearly 48% of African-American women have some form of CVD and are at risk for developing symptoms early in life. Healthier eating, living, and better control of high blood pressure and diabetes would prevent deaths from CVD. Being overweight can also contribute to high blood pressure, which causes your heart to work over time.
Here are a few things that will help prevent or turn around CVD:
- Diet and exercise – eating a low-fat diet will enable you to keep your arteries clear and help control your weight.
- Eliminate tobacco use – smoking causes elevated blood pressure and increases risk of blood clots due to the weakened capacity of the lungs preventing proper exercise. “If she smokes, she certainly should be asking her doctor about smoke cessation programs. Most doctors have access to these programs and aids that a woman can be helped with to get control of her heart health.” Sylvia Moore CIVA.
- Controlled blood sugar –diabetes causes poor blood circulation due to constricted blood vessels, which leads to cardiac incidents.