Women: Know Heart Attack Symptoms, Take Measures to Reduce Risk
By April Cohagen-Gibson
Chair, NFRW Health Issues Committee
“She has a great heart.” How many times have we heard someone say this?
The question is, “How great is her heart?"
Heart disease is not just a man’s disease. Numbers show women actually suffer in larger numbers. A woman suffers a heart attack every 90 seconds in the United States.
Many times, a heart attack is mistaken as a bad case of indigestion. Symptoms can include dizziness or light-headedness, feeling sick to your stomach or actual vomiting, fatigue, cold sweats, sharp upper body pain (neck, jaw, back), shortness of breath and heavy pressure on the chest. Women’s symptoms may occur when they are sleeping or resting. One of the main triggers is mental stress.
Know the symptoms and react quickly. It can save your life and prevent permanent damage to your heart muscle. If you are experiencing symptoms, do not drive yourself to the hospital. Call 911, remain calm and control your breathing.
While we cannot change our family medical history, there are many things we can do to reduce our risk of developing heart disease.
Maintain a healthy weight through physical activity and diet. Get up and get walking just 30-60 minutes a day. If you need to lose weight, increase this to 60-90 minutes each day. Be mindful of a diet that is high in saturated fats and cholesterol which can cause obesity and diabetes.
Quit smoking. This includes electronic cigarettes and all tobacco.
Limit alcohol consumption.
Take your prescriptions as prescribed.
Visit your physician every year and have all your health screenings.
Have a beautiful Valentine’s Day, and take the option of flowers instead of candy. Your heart and table will thank you for it.