This blog post sheds light on heart disease, the top cause of death in women globally. It delves into crucial details such as symptoms, risk factors, and the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle while going for yearly checkups.
Q: As a woman, what should I be most concerned about for my health?
Your heart is a good place to start. If you think that men are most likely to have heart disease, you are not alone. The majority of women don’t know that heart disease is the number one killer of women, more than all forms of cancer combined.
Heart disease is the build-up of plaque in the arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart. If an artery becomes fully clogged, then a heart attack occurs.
The symptom people most associate with heart attack is chest pain, but that is not the case with women. Women may feel a squeezing sensation in their chest instead. Other symptoms could include arm, back, neck, jaw, and throat pain; dizziness; shortness of breath; and flu-like symptoms. Despite the variety of symptoms, two-thirds of women don’t show any, which makes taking preventative measures even more vital.
Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly are important not just for your overall health but also for preventing heart disease. Lack of physical activity, high blood sugar, and obesity are all major risk factors for this devastating disease, as are smoking, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Ninety percent of women have at least one of these risk factors, so it is important to be aware of the symptoms and to make leading a healthy lifestyle a priority.
See your primary care provider for an annual wellness exam, including a thorough check of your risk factors for heart disease. Then work together to develop a “healthy heart plan” for your long-term health and well-being.