GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Every minute, a woman dies from heart disease. It's the number one killer of women in the country. Not even breast cancer kills more women. February is National Women's Heart Health Month, and many groups are using the 28 days of the month to promote awareness of the issue.
Nearly twice as many women die of heart disease, stroke, or other cardiovascular diseases as from all forms of cancer. In fact, cardiovascular diseases are responsible for more than 40% of all deaths in American women.
That said, there are things you can do to help prevent it from being such a problem for yourself. There are risk factors you can control. Your blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, a lack of activity, being overweight, and having diabetes are all risk factors you can manage. Go to your doctor so you know your numbers and can manage them to the best of your ability. Make sure you are eating healthy foods, and if you smoke, quitting could significantly reduce your risk.
Risk factors for heart disease you can do nothing about include your age, gender, family history, race, and if you have previously had a heart attack or stroke.
In women, the warnings of a heart attack may look a little different than the stereotypical ones we often see from men. While a pressure in your chest, pain, and a strange feeling in your arm are all signs, so too are a shortness of breath, back pain, jaw pain, and nausea. It is important to know your body, and to recognize when something is different and wrong. If something doesn't feel right, don't risk it.
You can Go Red For Women to learn more about heart disease and what you can do to combat it.
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