Women: Be Good to Your Heart!
Too often, women are completely unaware of their risk for heart disease. As women, we are oftentimes tuned in to have mammograms, especially during Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Cardiovascular disease has stereotypically been considered a “man’s disease”- where we think of a business man in a suit, holding his hand to his heart, suffering from a heart attack.
How many of you out there know that heart disease is in fact the leading cause of death for American women? And that more women than men die of heart disease each year, according to The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention & The American Heart Association?
Not only that, but women also present symptoms differently than men. Symptoms of heart disease in women can be subtle and wide-ranging from unusual fatigue, shortness of breath and neck pain to nausea and chest pain. A lot of these things may seem similar to typical menopause symptoms, so it’s important to take them seriously and pay attention to our bodies.
According to The American Heart Association, these are the Heart Attack Symptoms for Women:
• Extreme fatigue
• Chest pain, pressure
• Dizziness and light-headedness
• Shortness of breath
• Profuse sweating
• Severe heartburn
Although we cannot change certain risk factors, such as our genetics, race, gender, and our age (no matter how many anti-aging products we might take!), there are certain risk factors you can reduce, and ways to be proactive about your heart health by making simple, healthy lifestyle changes. Smoking increases your risk for heart disease, so if you smoke, please try to quit. A healthy diet and incorporation of regular exercise are key to a healthy life, not only for your heart- so be sure you eat balanced meals and incorporate the necessary food groups into your diet. Watch the salt (especially in pre-packaged or canned foods), and stick to natural fresh foods, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Another proactive approach to your health is to take advantage of the services that are offered here at Ellis Medicine. Did you know that we have a Women & Heart Disease Program at the Neil and Jane Golub Breast & Heart Health Center at Bellevue Woman’s Center? This program offers a comprehensive heart screening for women, where a patient:
• completes an evaluation to assess her risk for heart disease and provide personal and family history, at one place, on one date;
• receives results from her risk assessment by the end of the appointment;
• is referred to specialists (e.g., cardiologist, nutritionist, diabetes educator), only if applicable, for further evaluation and/or treatment.
The Women & Heart Disease Program screening costs $25. For convenience, consider making your screening appointment the same day as your mammogram. The program, now open at Bellevue Woman’s Center, will soon expand to a second location on the Ellis Hospital campus, 1201 Nott Street, in the Medical Arts Building- more information to follow.
I encourage any woman reading this to call 243.3333 today to make your appointment for this screening that could potentially save your life.