American Heart Month targets women

By Kristian Weatherspoon | Published 05 Feb 2013 07:00am | comments

February is American Heart Month and organizations are working to raise awareness about the disease in women. 

Dr. Michael Winniford, chief of Cardiology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center says that many women aren’t as concerned about heart disease as they should be.

“Many women they will tell you that their greatest health concern is cancer, breast cancer, some other form of cancer,” he says “Even though we think of it as a man’s disease, more women die of heart disease each year than men.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is responsible for 1 in every 4 female deaths and is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.  Winniford says there are key steps women can and should take to recognize heart disease and prevent it.


Risk factors for Heart Disease

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Poor diet

Prevention Tips

  • Get 30 minutes a day of aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming, or bicycling.
  • Know your numbers: Women should know their cholesterol values, blood sugar values, BMI or body mass index, and blood pressure to understand and identify whether or not they’re at risk for   developing heart disease
  • Maintain a low cholesterol diet
  • Practice calorie restriction

Dr. Winniford points out that many times heart disease goes undiagnosed because people mistake symptoms of the disease for other ailments. 

Heart attack symptoms

  • Squeezing chest pressure and/or chest pain
  • Sweating
  • shortness of breath
  • Women may experience more shortness of breath, severe fatigue, and nausea than men.    

 Here is a graphic from the US Department of Health and Human Services about women and heart disease.





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