American Heart Month in February is dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and increasing knowledge about prevention.
Did you know?
- 1 in 3 women die of heart disease? This is about 1 woman every minute
- Heart disease takes more women’s lives than all forms of cancer combined
- Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease
- 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, while 1 in 3 dies of heart disease
Last February I did a post on how I almost lost my best friend, Lori, to a heart attack. She was a smoker in her early 40s, was recently diagnosed with diabetes, and heart disease runs in her family. Still, none of these factors prepared any of us for what was about to happen and were it not for her being in the right place at the right time, the outcome could have been fatal.
It’s true, heart attack symptoms are considerably different in women than men. Lori didn’t have a crushing pain in her chest rather, her only complaints were hot flashes and sweating. Since she was scheduled for back surgery no one considered that she might be having a coronary episode.
While she was being prepped for surgery the nurses discovered Lori was having a heart attack so she was rushed to the ER. It wasn’t until she was in the coronary unit the doctor found there was 99% blockage in one of her major heart valves. After placement of a stent and a few days in the hospital Lori fully recovered.
Earlier, I mentioned women’s heart statistics because as a group, we’ve been conditioned to think that heart disease isn’t a high priority. Since we hear so much about the devastating effects of breast cancer,we generally tend to think that heart disease takes a back seat.
How Can You Prevent a Heart Attack?
You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease and can be accomplished by:
- Watching your weight.
- Quitting smoking and staying away from secondhand smoke.
- Controlling your cholesterol and blood pressure.
- If you drink alcohol, drinking only in moderation.
- Becoming active and eating healthy.
Following are resources with additional information on heart health and heart attack prevention: