Do your heart good
Fact: Cardiovascular disease kills more women than all cancers combined.
Fact: One in eight women aged 45 to 64 has heart disease
Fact: You can protect yourself—and you should start right now!
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women and
isn't something women should ignore since it is 80 percent
preventable. There are simple lifestyle choices you can make
to help prevent the disease, including stopping smoking,
exercising frequently, changing your diet, and losing and
University of Minnesota Physicians Heart at Fairview also
offers a new online Heart Health Assessment to help you
learn if you have risk factors for developing heart disease (also called cardiovascular disease or CVD) in the next 10 years and which lifestyle factors you can address to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Protect your heart
To protect your heart, it’s important to make your heart health a priority and understand the risk factors of the disease.
- Family history. If you have a parent who has or had heart disease, you’re more likely to be at risk.
- High blood pressure. When you have high blood pressure (above 140/90), your heart has to work harder and your risk for heart disease increases.
- High cholesterol. Your risk for heart disease increases when your blood cholesterol level goes up.
- Obesity. Even when you don’t have other risk factors, being overweight or obese raises your risk of heart disease, particularly if you have fat around your midsection (stomach area).
- Metabolic syndrome. Having a combination of three or more of these symptoms — a large waistline, insulin resistance, low levels of “good” cholesterol, and elevated triglyceride levels — raises the risk for heart disease.
Women at increased risk
Something else to keep in mind is while some heart disease risk factors affect both men and women; the following may have a bigger impact on women.
- Diabetes. Women who have diabetes are four to five times more likely to be at risk for heart disease. Part of the reason diabetes increases women’s risks for heart disease has to do with estrogen levels.
- Smoking. People who smoke are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease, but each cigarette may have a bigger impact on women. Women smokers have 25 percent more likelihood of getting heart disease then male smokers.
- Depression. Depression isn’t an independent risk factor for heart disease but it’s associated with higher risk.
Women's heart attack symptoms vary
Keep in mind that although the stereotypical portrayal of a heart attack is one with intense chest-clutching, desperate gasping for air followed by a person dropping motionless to the ground, not all heart attacks are like that, especially when it comes to heart disease in women.
Chest pain, including pressure, tightness or squeezing, happens in only 50 percent of women having a heart attack. Signs of a heart attack in women can also include fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, and pale or clammy skin. Women should also be aware that even if these symptoms come and go, they could still be signs of a heart attack.
Heart disease is preventable if you are proactive. Do as much as you can to lower your risk and keep your heart healthy for years to come.
If you would like more information on heart health or to schedule an appointment, visit our website or call the location nearest you. Take our Heart Health Assessment to find out the age of your heart.
Fairview Southdale Hospital
6405 France Ave. S., W200 and W300, Edina, MN 55435
University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview
516 Delaware St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
Fairview Ridges Hospital
305 E. Nicollet Blvd., Suite 372, Burnsville, MN 55337
Fairview Lakes Medical Center
5200 Fairview Blvd., Level 2, Wyoming, MN 55092
Fairview Maple Grove Medical Center
14500 99th Ave. N., Maple Grove, MN 55369
Fairview Northland Medical Center
919 Northland Dr., Princeton, MN 55371