Heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, smoking and high LDL cholesterol. Unfortunately, nearly half of all Americans have at least one of these. Seeing a primary care doctor regularly and going in for testing at a cardiology diagnostics center can spot and prevent problems.
Knowing the risks and symptoms of a heart attack can make a big difference. Women suffer from more heart attacks than men and face a higher risk of death from having one because they do not know the symptoms, which can be different for women than men. Cardiology diagnostics may be more critical for women to make them aware of any underlying issues and educate them about what they should look for so they know when to seek out cardiac care at a heart center.
Ways to limit your risk of dying from a heart attack.
- Quit smoking. It causes cancer and heart disease. It also costs a lot and smells terrible. Your doctor can help you quit.
- Investigate your family history. If someone in your immediate family has ever suffered a heart attack or had heart disease, your risk jumps by about 25% to 50%. Knowing more about your family’s risk factor can help you make better decisions about your healthcare and when to seek out cardiology diagnostics testing for yourself.
- Get a physical and keep track of any test results. Research shows that a waistline larger than 35 inches can be a good predictor of future heart problems. Learn what your cholesterol and blood pressure numbers are like, too. The more you know about your body, the more you can protect yourself.
- Just move already! Moderate exercise can lower your risk of a heart attack by at least 35% to 50%. This does not mean you have to train to do an Ironman in Hawaii. This is 30 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise every day and weight training twice a week. You will lower your body fat percentage and your heart will thank you.
- Eat healthier food! Think about switching to a diet that more clearly mimics a Mediterranean diet and you will be healthier. These diets include more beans, nuts, vegetables and monounsaturated fats. Other studies have shown people who eat diets with a lot of avocados lose weight and lower their cholesterol. You should also cut down on the amount of red meat you consume. You can lower your heart attack risk by nearly 30% by making your diet healthier.
Women are great at explaining away the symptoms of a heart attack by thinking they are just tired, overworked and/or stressed out. While you may be all of those things, these symptoms warrant immediate attention:
- Pain in the chest or upper abdomen. This may feel more like pressure than pain. It may also feel more like a squeezing sensation in the middle of the chest.
- Pain that spreads to the back, neck, shoulder or jaw. You have probably heard about pain that goes down the right arm, you may or may not experience that so do not think its absence means you are not having a heart attack.
- If chest or upper abdominal pain is accompanied by dizziness, extreme fatigue, dizziness and/ or nausea, you should head to the emergency room.