disease is #1 killer of women
St. Mary’s Hospital Cardiac Rehab Department wants women to know that there is some good news; all women can take steps to lower their risk of developing heart disease. If you’re a woman aged between 40-60, it’s particularly important that you immediately begin taking steps to lower you risk.
Risk factors for heart disease in women:
Being 55 or older – as women grow older, their risk of heart disease and stroke increases, and keeps rising with age
Having a family history of coronary artery disease before the age of 60
Having a previous heart attack, stroke or transient ischemic attack (“mini stroke”)
Being post-menopausal, or having your ovaries removed
Having high blood pressure
Having a high total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, or triglyceride level, and/or reduced HDL cholesterol
Being obese or overweight
Being physically inactive
Being a smoker
What symptoms should women look out for; women tend to have more atypical symptoms than men, these include:
Pain in the shoulders, or between the shoulder blades
GI symptoms – nausea, abdominal discomfort, vomiting or an upset stomach
Shortness of breath
Burning in the chest area
The symptoms above are not exclusive to women; some men also experience similar symptoms. There are also a number of women who experience the classic chest pain symptoms. Therefore, it is important to prepare yourself by being familiar with the classic symptoms and the less common symptoms as well.
Following a healthy lifestyle; research shows that women can lower their heart disease risk by as much as 82% simply by leading a healthy lifestyle. The “Guidelines for Preventing Cardiovascular Disease in Women” which were produced in 2007 still apply today:
Lifestyle changes to help lower blood pressure, including weight control, increased physical activity, alcohol moderation, sodium restriction, increased intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, and eating low-fat dairy products
Try to quit smoking by receiving counseling, nicotine replacement, or other forms of smoking cessation therapy, if necessary
Minimum of 60-90 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (for example, brisk walking) most days of the week for women who need to lose weight, or sustain weight loss
All women should reduce their intake of saturated fats to less than 7% of calories, if possible
February 1st is the American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day. The fight against women’s heart disease is far from over as hundreds of thousands of women still die each year; wearing red on this day is just one of the many ways to show support and take action against heart disease.
Mary Watson, RN, Cardiac Rehab Coordinator for St. Mary’s Hospital would like to invite everyone; men and women, young and old to their Cardiac Rehab Open House which will be held on February 12th from 1:30 to 3:30 in the Cardiac Rehab department of the hospital.