Cardiovascular diseases kill more women than men. But 80 percent of cardiac events in women could be prevented if women made the right choices for their hearts involving diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking.
A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked, usually by a blood clot.
If this clot cuts off the blood flow completely, the part of the heart muscle supplied by that artery begins to die.
Signs of a Heart Attack
1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort.
But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. If you have any of these signs, don’t wait! Call for help!. Call9-1-1. Get to a hospital right away.
Stroke is the No. 3 cause of death in America. It’s also a major cause of severe, long-term disability.
Stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) happen when a blood vessel feeding the brain gets clogged or bursts. The signs of a TIA are like a stroke, but usually last only a few minutes. If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1 to get help fast if you have any of these, but remember that not all of these warning signs occur in every stroke.
Signs of Stroke and TIAs
1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
3. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
5. Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Also, check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared. It’s very important to take immediate action. Research funded by the American Heart Association has shown that if given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.
Finding time in our overscheduled lives for physical activity is a challenge for all busy Americans. But anyone who has successfully managed to do so will tell you how much more energy they have, and how they are actually able to do more than before they started getting regular exercise. So no more excuses! Make It Your Mission to fight heart disease by being active.
Why be physically active?
The facts are clear: By getting at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week you can reduce your risk of heart disease. Without regular physical activity, the body slowly loses its strength and ability to function well.
Being active is as important as reducing calories in helping you lose weight! And it’s good for your heart, lungs, bones, muscles and mind. Regular physical activity helps lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and other health problems. Ask your doctor or health professional for a physical activity plan that’s right for you.
Tips to help you be active
• Schedule time in your day for physical activity. Make a date to walk during your lunch time at work, or go for a walk with your friends or family in the evening.
• Substitute physical activity where possible. Choose a parking spot that allows you to get a few extra minutes of walking, or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Every little bit helps!
• Pick active outings. Instead of going to the movies, visit a zoo or museum where you can walk around while being entertained.
Smoking is the most preventable major risk factor of heart and blood vessel diseases. The long list of diseases and deaths due to smoking is frightening. Thousands of nonsmokers, including infants and children, are harmed by exposure to cigarette smoke. Even if you don’t smoke, you could become one of the nearly 443,000 smoking-related deaths every year.
It’s never too late to quit! No matter how much or how long you’ve smoked or when you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease and stroke starts to drop. In time your risk will be about the same as if you’d never smoked.
Tips for quitting
• Be prepared. Women are more likely to quit smoking for good if they prepare for two things:
1) the last cigarette and 2) the cravings, urges and feelings that come with quitting.
• Medication can help. Specific medicines can help people quit smoking when used correctly. Talk to your healthcare provider about the options that may work best for you.
• Get support. It can help to recruit a support team. Additional support can be found by looking for programs through hospitals, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association or the American Lung Association.
During the quitting process, people often slip and have a cigarette. It’s important not to feel like you failed at quitting; just give it another chance. If you are a parent, talk to your kids about smoking. Once they start, it can be difficult to stop, even during adolescence.
Article compliments of the American Heart Association