Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death of American women? More than 200,000 women die each year from heart attacks five times as many women with breast cancer. Women are also less likely than men to receive appropriate treatment after a heart attack.
February is Heart Health Month and the Langlade County Health Department wants you to be healthy.
What are the risk factors and what can you do to prevent heart disease?
- Lower high blood pressure– high blood pressure can lead to strokes, heart attacks, heart failure or kidney failure. Blood pressures are held each month in a variety of locations. Call the Health Department for dates and times 715-627-6250.
- Reduce cholesterol– have your cholesterol checked! Do you know your numbers? Diet and exercise can help lower your cholesterol.
- Maintain a healthy weight– excess weight can lead to high B/P, diabetes, and cholesterol.
- Manage diabetes- diabetics are twice as likely to develop heart disease. Have you been tested for diabetes? Talk with your doctor about how to manage diabetes and reduce other risk factors.
- Reduce stress- stress can raise your blood pressure, cause you to eat more, and exercise less. Find ways to decrease stress!
- Quit smoking- smoking increases your risk of heart disease. Within 20 minutes of quitting, your heart rate will drop.
- Get regular checkups- Ask your health care provider about any screening tests that you may need to protect your heart.
- Limit your alcohol- Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure and cause extra weight gain.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet- Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products, beans, fish, and lean meats. Avoid saturated and trans-saturated fats. Limit foods that are high in calories but low in nutrition.
- Be physically active- Aim for 30-60 minutes of activity most days. Any type of activity can help your heart.
The most common sign to watch for is pain or discomfort to the center of the chest that may go down one or both arms. Other signs include: shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, feeling faint or woozy, or breaking out in a cold sweat. Women are more likely than men to have these other signs of a heart attack: heartburn, loss of appetite, feeling tired or weak, coughing, or heart flutters.
Symptoms can come on suddenly or come slowly over hours, days or weeks before a heart attack. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and seek treatment as soon as possible. For more information about heart disease: http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/ or http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/.