When you hear heart disease do you think of women? If you don’t, you probably should. Even though it is often associated with men, heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in the U.S. However, only about half of women know that heart disease is their leading cause of death. Every 1 in 3 women die of heart disease so it is very important to understand the risk factors and symptoms!

How can you take control of your own heart health? The first step is to know your risk of developing heart disease. There are numerous risk factors, some you can control and others that you cannot. Visit your doctor for an annual physical and have your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels checked. Discuss your family health history with your doctor as well.

Next, recognize all of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, not just what you see in the movies. Symptoms can develop suddenly or over the course of a few days.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath, and
  • Pain in the upper body (arms, neck, shoulder and back)

Other common symptoms that woman are more likely to experience than men:

  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness, and
  • Unexplained tiredness that can last for a few days

Because these symptoms are common to other illnesses, many women do not realize that they are having a heart attack but instead think it is the flu or even acid reflux.

This Friday, February 3rd join us as we wear red to support National Wear Red Day and raise awareness for women’s heart disease.

Sources: CDC, The American Heart Association, National Heart,Lung, and Blood Institute. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.