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Ladies commit to a healthy heart

Cokeitha Gaddist Healthy Lifestyles Columnist

Cokeitha Gaddist
Healthy Lifestyles Columnist

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women. Sadly women are more likely to go undiagnosed until after they suffer a heart attack. Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute. It is the most deadly disease for women and kills more women than all forms of cancer combined. Over 8.6 million women lose their lives to heart disease annually: Women who are moms, grandmas, aunts, sisters, and daughters. But the good news is that heart disease is also the most preventable disease and cause of death in women.

I consider myself to be pretty healthy but my family has a history of heart disease. Unfortunately many of the women in my family suffer from heart disease and more than a few have had a heart attack and major heart surgery. Therefore be mindful that even though you live a healthy life as I do, you may carry serious risk because heart disease is also genetic. This is why it’s extremely important to visit your family physician to assess your risk.

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, and stress are the main contributors to heart disease and they can all be reduced. To reduce your risks quit smoking if you currently smoke, maintain a healthy weight, reduce your stress levels and be more physically active. Ideally, exercise for 30-45 minutes 3-5 day a week. A power walk is one of the best ways of getting enough exercise and it’s also easy on your joints. Maintaining a healthy heart also requires you to eat a heart healthy diet low in saturated fats and high in soluble fibers like fruits, vegetables, beans and oats. Another benefit of following these heart disease prevention tips is that you’ll also be preventing or reducing your risk of obesity, stroke, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and many types of cancers,

As important as prevention is, it’s equally important to recognize the warning signs of a heart attack. Most of us know the normal symptoms to be pains down the left or both arms, chest pain and pressure, burning or tightness in the chest. But did you know that women often experience heart attack symptoms in a different way than men? Women may have chest pain, pressure and discomforts in the chest but may also have jaw, back and stomach pains, shoulder ache, nausea, vomiting or shortness of breath. This is why many women tend to be underdiagnosed until after a heart attack occurs. Ladies if you are experiencing any of these symptoms seek immediate medical attention or see your family physician as soon as possible.

Heart disease doesn’t have to end in death if you practice prevention, know the warning signs of a heart attack and commit to a heart healthy lifestyle.

 

Special to The Colletonian (3424 Posts)