Aging Options

Know your risks for heart disease

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It’s February and that means this month we care about matters of the heart.  Of course we care all the other months as well but one of the most startling facts to me is that women are more prone to missing the warning signs of heart disease than men. 

How can it be that women who are otherwise more attuned to their bodies and more likely to see a doctor can be oblivious about one of the major killers of Americans?

One problem is the stereotypical signs of heart disease we see on television or in the movies.  While women and men feel chest pain, men feel the pressure as “an elephant on their chest” while women may merely feel uncomfortable pain.  Other symptoms that women experience include feeling like they are coming down with the flu.  They may experience it as fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness and difficulty sleeping.

A woman is six times as likely to die of heart or vascular problems as of breast cancer according to Dr. Marc Gillinov in an ABC news video.  One in four women’s deaths is a result of heart disease according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

There are some risk factors you can’t control such as age, gender and genetics, which makes the risk factors that you can control such as diabetes, obesity or being overweight, poor diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use very important to address.

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