While taking a light jog it’s easy to notice your surroundings: including the beautiful palm trees as they tower high above you spanning like an umbrella protecting and hiding the sun’s rays for a few brief seconds. As the shade diminishes you decide to enter into top gear.
You start to experience pain in your chest region. Casually, you decide it’s best to ignore the pain reassuring think it has to be the pizza you ate for lunch and you diagnose yourself with having heartburn.
But did you know that a lot of people mistake heart burn for angina, a problem associated with Cardiovascular Disease? Despite it’s name, heartburn is related to the esophagus. Since the esophagus and heart are located near each other, either one can cause chest pain, hence the reason why many think they are experiencing heartburn instead of angina. For the sake of your heart we will be helping you recognize the warning signs of this terrible disease. So get ready, we are about to have a heart to heart about heart disease.
According to the American Heart Association Cardiovascular disease and strokes cause 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one women every 80 seconds.
The American Heart Association also reports, “Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death for African-American women, killing 48,000 annually…is the leading cause of death for Hispanic women, killing nearly 21,000 annually.” In addition, “fewer women than men survive their first heart attack.”
CAD, or Coronary Artery disease is one of the leading heart diseases that women face. According to HCA West Hospitals, CAD occurs when cholesterol and fat build up in the arteries that lead to the heart. In turn the build up narrows the blood vessels, causing reduced flow to the heart. Since women tend to have higher stress levels the discovery of CAD or any heart problem associated with heart disease can take longer.
Other heart diseases include high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, valvular heart disease, and congenital heart defects.
So how can you lower your risk of heart disease? Here are some suggestions from Doctor Hudson:
- Eat a healthier diet. Red meat including those high in fat or cholesterol, such as easy meal options like fried food can raise your risk of CAD. One of the best ways to prevent heart disease is eating lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans and other low-fat sources of proteins.
- However, heart disease is not strictly confined to those with a inadequate or unhealthy diet. There have been many cases of women who admitted to eating extremely healthy who experienced an attack, in turn displaying the cause for these women’s heart conditions were due to stress. An excellent way to reduce levels of stress is through cardio exercises. One of my faves is walking because it is a excellent way to relieve stress and it helps improve your mood.
- Also alcohol and smoking contribute to the risk of developing heart disease. Don’t get me wrong a glass of wine a day is great for keeping your heart healthy, but know where to draw the line. Binge drinking causes your heart to beat irregularly and your blood pressure to raise. Another risk factor smoking causes your arteries to constrict, making it harder for blood to pump through your veins. If there is any blockages in the arteries it can become impossible for blood to pass.
There’s good news though! Heart disease can be prevented and treated if caught in time. If you are worried about being at risk for having heart disease you can take an online assessment. It is important to remember that this test is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and instead should just be used for informational purposes. The best thing to do is to have regular checkups with your doctor and to tell them if you feel anything out of the ordinary including fatigue, shortness of breath, a fluttering or abnormal beating in your chest, or constant light-headedness. For CAD there are three stages of the disease according to Brandon Regional Hospital. For a detailed description of each check out the link above.
If you are interested in learning more visit Largo’s Medical Center on February 19 from 12 p.m to 2 p.m. and get prepared to have a heart healthy discussion with doctors. Also, Brandon Regional Hospital will be hosting a heart healthy nutrition class on March 2 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Preventing and catching heart disease before it claims another innocent life like yours or a family members is crucial. Just remember that with a healthy heart the beat goes on and on.
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