By: Darleen Mahoney
I could review the statistics of heart disease in America and the surprising fact that women are more prone to die from heart disease than men or that it is the leading cause of death over cancer. Yes, that’s right! Cancer!
“In the United States, 1 in 4 women dies from heart disease. In fact, coronary heart disease (CHD)—the most common type of heart disease—is the #1 killer of both men and women in the United States”. (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/heart-disease-women).
At the end of the day, the important facts that we need to know are how to help prevent heart disease in our everyday lives and the signs that we may be in “trouble” and need to seek medical attention.
Preventing heart disease can be challenging for those who are conditioned to living an unhealthy lifestyle based on their choices of food, alcohol, exercise, etc. Getting healthy doesn’t happen overnight and must become a way of living, not a short-term solution to a medical issue.
Healthy living choices to help prevent heart disease include:
● Eat healthy.
● Get active.
● Stay at a healthy weight.
● Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
● Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
● If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
● Manage stress.
Have you ever been surprised to hear that someone who was “perfectly healthy” died of a heart attack? The people close to that person said, “he was never diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, we all thought he was perfectly healthy. Who knew?” Everyone is shocked when this happens. This is because someone might not be diagnosed with cardiovascular disease until he or she has a heart attack, stroke, heart failure or angina. Therefore, watching for heart disease symptoms prior to a heart event is critical.
According to Mayo Clinic, (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353118), symptoms in men and women can be different. Men will more likely have chest pain, while women may experience chest pain/discomfort along with shortness of breath, nausea, and extreme fatigue.
Other symptoms may include:
● Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed
● Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back
There are also various other symptoms for different types of heart disease:
● abnormal heartbeats (heart arrhythmia’s)
● heart muscle (dilated cardiomyopathy)
● valvular heart disease
● heart infections
In a nutshell, all these different types of heart disease have 3 symptoms in common and they are your keys to knowing that you need to seek medical attention right away. They are chest pains, shortness of breath, and fainting.
Heart disease can be treated more proactively when treated early on. Contacting your doctor to discuss your heart health concerns is being proactive in a longer, happier, healthier heart and life.