The Importance of Heart Health for Women
Did you know that heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women every year? The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women program encourages all women to live a healthy and happy lifestyle by making necessary lifestyle changes to minimize risk of heart disease. By being informed and taking action, women can take control of their heart health. Below are a few bullet points about the importance of heart health and what you can do to maintain healthy habits.
Women’s Heart Health is Different Than Men’s
Oddly enough, women’s signs for heart disease are different than the well-known signs men show. Typically, men will notice numbness or tingling in their extremities, chest pain, or an irregular heartbeat. However, women’s symptoms are subtler and harder to detect because they aren’t the symptoms that have been popularized by health associations over the years. Women’s signs may include indigestion, back pain, and maybe even jaw pain — which make it easy to diagnose as another health issue.
Know Your Risk Factors
As with any health concern, there are a number of risk factors women should be aware of. Unfortunately, some factors like age, gender, race, and family history can’t be controlled. However, some risk factors can controlled with good health practices. Below are some controlled risk factors and ideas about what you can do to improve your overall heart health.
- High blood pressure: The ideal blood pressure measurement is 120/80. Any number 140 or higher is considered high blood pressure. To keep your blood pressure in check, make sure you exercise, eat right, and minimize the bad habits like smoking and drinking.
- Obesity: The heavier your weight, the increased chance for higher blood pressure. Not only does obesity increase your chances for high blood pressure and heart disease, but it increases your risk for diabetes as well.
- Lack of physical activity: We all know that a lack of physical activity can lead to weight gain. With our busy society, finding time to exercise can be difficult. A brisk 30-minute walk every day or simply getting the housecleaning done can be enough to stimulate your heart.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Eating healthy doesn’t mean you’re restricted to bland foods that are low in fat and calories. Although eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is critical to maintaining a healthy diet, you may still eat some fun foods as well! A 4-ounce glass of red wine can encourage cholesterol levels, and dark chocolate that’s at least 70 percent cocoa is indeed heart healthy!