Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, regardless of their race or ethnicity. One of every three women dies of heart disease compared to 1 in 30 deaths from breast cancer.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, regardless of their race or ethnicity. One of every three women dies of heart disease compared to 1 in 30 deaths from breast cancer.

The symptoms women experience during a heart attack often differ from those men experience, thus heart attacks in women can be misdiagnosed. Women tend to ignore the onset of symptoms, which they may not recognize as a heart attack:

 45 percent of heart attacks go unnoticed or unreported in women

 

33 percent report atypical symptoms

 

22 percent report typical chest pain symptoms


Left untreated, heart disease can lead to serious complications.

Be prepared, learn the symptoms of a heart attack and seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these:



Typical symptoms

Crushing chest pain, radiating to the neck/jaw, down the arm (feels like an elephant or bricks sitting on your chest);

 

Sweating, without exertion or more than usual;

 

Nausea; and

 

Sudden rapid heartbeat.




Atypical symptoms

Unexplained exhaustion, fatigue, weakness;

 

Unexplained shortness of breath;

 

Chest discomfort - pressure, tingling, squeezing or a full feeling;

 

Indigestion;

 

Discomfort in the upper shoulder blades;

 

Swelling of the legs or ankles;

 

Nausea or dizziness

 

Heart palpitations, cold sweat.


The good news is you can take steps to prevent heart disease. Take charge of your health:

Get an annual checkup on your birthday so you won’t forget. Know your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.

 

Follow your healthcare professional’s recommendations, including taking prescribed medications. Make fitness a lifestyle, exercise three to five times per week. Take the stairs and park as far away from the building entrances as possible.

 

Drink water everywhere you go.

 

Make low-fat choices. Keep your cholesterol down by eating lean beef, chicken or turkey (roasted or baked with the skin removed), fruits, vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy products and whole grains.

 

 Limit salt and watch for hidden salts such as sodium caseinate, sodium sulfite, monosodium glutamate and sodium citrate.


n  Control your weight by watching your calorie intake and being physically active.

n  Keep healthy foods handy for snacking.

n  Quit smoking.

Relapses are normal. Just get back on track immediately with more determination to establish a healthy lifestyle.