To Your Health! Heart Health: Are You at Risk?

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Corinne Hiser, ANP
Corinne Hiser, ANP

By Advanced Nurse Practitioner Corinne Hiser

High blood pressure has frequently been tagged as “the silent killer,” so how do you know when something more serious is brewing?

One in four women dies from Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), making it the No. 1 killer of women, regardless of race or ethnicity. Two-thirds of women who suffer a heart attack never fully recover, and those who do survive their heart attack are more likely to die during the first year than men who have a heart attack.

When a heart attack occurs, more women than men die before they reach the hospital. This may be due to the fact that women are more likely to have more nonspecific symptoms than men. Denial is common: “this can’t be a heart attack.”

Symptoms in women may include chest pressure/pain, shortness of breath, diaphoresis or sweating, pain in the jaw or radiating to the jaw, through to the back, or down the arm. You may also experience nausea or indigestion, and fatigue.

Women who are obese, physically inactive, older than 65, and have elevated blood pressure or cholesterol have a greater risk of developing CHD, as do women with diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Healthy diet, physical activity, and weight loss can help control or prevent CHD. Foods high in fiber and low in fat and cholesterol are desirable. Limiting saturated fat and highly processed foods, eating fruits and vegetables, as well as monitoring portion sizes are vital to maintaining good health.

Knowing your body and recognizing signs and symptoms of a potential problem may save your life. Know your risks!

Resources:

www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/heartdiseaseinwomen.html

www.cardiosmart.org/HeartDisease/CTT.aspx?id=2638

www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/statistics.htm

www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ByAudience/ForWomen/ucm118528.htm

www.goredforwomen.org

Go Red for Women
Go Red for Women

Be sure to see Cheryl Starzynski’s story.

M! Feb/Mar 2012

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