The Heart Truth
Helping women, especially women ages 40 to 60, understand their risk of heart disease and take action to protect their heart health.
What is Heart Disease?
There are many forms of heart disease, coronary artery disease, or coronary heart disease, is most common. Heart disease develops over years and progresses when the heart doesn’t get enough nutrient-rich blood.
- Heart disease is the #1 killer of American women
- Heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined
- Heart disease can permanently damage your heart—and your life
- If heart disease is not treated, serious complications can develop
Heart Attack Symptoms
- Chest pain, discomfort, pressure, or squeezing
- Upper-body pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Breaking out in a cold sweat
- Unusual or unexplained fatigue (tiredness), particularly in women (which may be present for days)
- Light-headedness or sudden dizziness
Why Focus on Women?
- Historically, women have been understudied, undiagnosed, and undertreated
- With awareness campaigns, improvements have been made, but there is still work to be done
- There is an increasing mortality rate noted in younger women
- Women from racial and ethnic minorities have a disproportionate cardiovascular morbidity
You Can Lower Heart Disease Risk
- Begin today—make changes one step at a time
- Don’t smoke—if you are a smoker, ask your health care provider for help in quitting
- Be physically active—2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week
- Add strength training—2 to 3 times a week
- Follow a healthy eating plan
- Low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and moderate in total fat
- Limit salt and sodium
- Limit alcoholic beverages to no more than one a day
- Choose a variety of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables daily
- Choose fish, poultry, and lean cuts of meat
- Use nonfat or low-fat milk, cheeses, and yogurt
- Maintain a healthy weight
Go Red for Women! Presentation by Dr. Pillar Stevens-Cohen, Cardiology:
Dr. Pilar Stevens-Cohen, cardiologist and her patient, Heidi Farkas, of Woodmere, discusses her personal experience of having a heart attack that did not present with the customarily thought-of symptoms.
Resources for a Healthy Heart
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Office on Women’s Health, HHS National Women’s Health Information Center
Women Heart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease
Go Red for Women
The Center for Cardiovascular Health
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