Women’s Heart Month Should Focus on Heart Care, Symptoms

Heart Health News

February is National Women’s Heart Health Month, and a perfect opportunity for women to take charge of their heart health, according to the National Coalition for Women with Heart DiseaseOff Site Icon(WomenHeart).

Nearly 43 million women are living with some type of cardiovascular disease, and more than 2.6 million have a history of heart attack, according to WomenHeart. Oftentimes, women ignore signs and symptoms of heart attack – which can be confused for more minor conditions like acid reflux – brushing them off as no big deal. Women can also have symptoms very different from, and much more subtle than those experienced by men. The U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesOff Site Icon (HHS) encourages all women to call 9-1-1 immediately with the have the following heart attack symptoms:

  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Chest pain, discomfort, pressure or squeezing
  • Light-headedness or sudden dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Unusual upper body pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back, shoulder, neck, jaw or upper part of the stomach

Women’s risk of heart disease rises between the ages of 40 and 60. Women of all ages can work to reduce their risk of having a heart attack by monitoring the following factors that can increase risk, as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC). Things to watch include:

  • Alcohol
  • Diabetes
  • Eating a diet high in saturated fats and cholesterol
  • Family history of heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Tobacco use

The National Women’s Health Resource CenterOff Site Icon recommends spending February focusing on more than red, heart-shaped gifts for Valentine’s Day, and instead, focusing on a heart that matters much more – yours or that of someone you love.

For more information about Heart Month and heart disease in women, talk with your physician or find a physician.

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