February Is Heart Health Month – Why Heart Disease Matters to Women
Many do not know that the leading cause of death of women is heart disease. By making healthy lifestyle decisions, you can reduce your chance of heart disease. The following statistics highlight the issue of heart health for women:
- One in 4 women in the United States dies of heart disease, while 1 in 30 dies of breast cancer.
- Twenty-three percent of women will die within 1 year after having a heart attack.
- Within 6 years of having a heart attack, about 46 percent of women become disabled with heart failure.
- Two-thirds of women who have a heart attack fail to make a full recovery.
The Heart Truth
For over a decade, the National Institute of Health has provided a program called The Heart Truth to help women understand the risk of heart disease.
The risk factors increase your chance for heart disease and include:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Diabetes and prediabetes
- Being overweight or obese
- Being physically inactive
- Having a family history of early heart disease
- Having a history of preeclampsia during pregnancy
- Unhealthy diet
- Age (55 or older for women)
Of course, their recommendation to mitigate these risks begins with your doctor. Your doctor can be an important partner in helping you reach goals for heart health. But remember, be proactive. Take control of your Heart Truth.
What Can You Do?
The FDA has four tips to help you make good decisions about your heart health:
- Eat a heart healthy diet. Watch your salt intake, cut back on sugar, and eat less fatty foods.
- Manage your health conditions. If you are on a medication, make sure to take the medicine. See your doctor for your annual physical. Early detection can help prevent serious heart disease.
- Get the facts about aspirin. Talk to your doctor about whether or not you should take aspirin daily. Do not self-medicate.
- Know the signs of a heart attack. Learn what a heart attack feels like and its symptons.
February is a great month to show love to your own heart by making healthy lifestyle choices!