Did you know that cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack take the life of one American woman every minute? That is almost 400,000 women per year, and kills more women each year than all forms of cancers combined. In fact, heart disease is the number one killer in Louisiana and America.
February is American Heart Month and it is important for women to understand that heart disease does not only impact men. Since heart disease is often silent and not easy to detect, it is essential to recognize key warning signs to reduce your risk and keep your heart healthy. Remember, it is never too late to change your habits.
HEART ATTACK SYMPTOMS FOR WOMEN:
- Pain or discomfort in the center of the chest.
- Vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain.
- A sensation of fullness or squeezing.
- Feeling unusually fatigued or weak.
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath.
- Pain, discomfort of numbness through the jaw, neck, back or arms.
REDUCE YOUR RISK OF HEART DISEASE:
- Stop smoking.
- Eat a heart healthy diet, low in saturated fats and salts, and high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.
- Know and monitor your numbers: Blood pressure, cholesterol (total, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides) and blood sugar levels.
- Get a restful sleep.
- Manage chronic stress.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU EXPERIENCE HEART ATTACK SYMPTOMS?
First and foremost, do not wait to get help! Women who experience one or more symptoms are urged to call 911 immediately and it is advised to chew an aspirin to help prevent further clotting.
DOES HEART DISEASE ONLY AFFECT OLDER WOMEN?
No, heart disease can sneak up at any age. Women need to pay careful attention to heart disease risk factors at any age, and especially those with a family history of heart disease.
According to the American Heart Association, more than one in three women live with cardiovascular disease. The bright side is that the Go Red for women campaign is fighting to change that number. Learn more about prevention and how to live a heart healthy life at https://www.goredforwomen.org/.
Dr. Viviana Falco is a cardiologist with Touro’s Crescent City Cardiovascular Associates located on Prytania Street in Uptown New Orleans. Dr. Falco completed her undergraduate degree at the University of New Orleans and her medical degree at Louisiana State University Medical School. She is board certified in a number of imaging methods, including echocardiography, nuclear cardiology, and cardiac computed tomography (CT). In addition, she obtained level 2 certification in Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (CMR) Imaging from Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis. These imaging methods use a computer to create images of the heart as it is beating, allowing her to take a closer look at the heart and major blood vessels with little risk to her patients. Dr. Falco is also a member of the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography and the New Orleans Chapter of the Louisiana State Medical Society.