News | Published February 1, 2014 | Written by Jeffery Gilbert, DO, cardiology, Mount Nittany Physician Group

American Heart Month - Why every woman needs to love her heart

Did you know that heart disease is the number one cause of death in women? Each year, one in every three women’s deaths can be attributed to its effects; however, only one in five women believes that heart disease is her greatest threat, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, causes blood vessels to narrow or become blocked, which can lead to chest pain (angina), a heart attack or stroke.

The AHA states that about 8 million women are living with heart disease, yet many women don’t know it because they don’t recognize the signs. Women tend to experience less severe symptoms than men and don’t realize that chest pain isn’t the only warning of heart disease and/or a heart attack. Symptoms may include unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances, shortness of breath, indigestion and anxiety.

Heart disease may be fatal, but it can be prevented. A healthy weight is very important to heart health. Make sure you are physically active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. In addition, eat a heart-healthy diet that incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables, but goes easy on the sodium and trans fats. Lastly, know your ABC’s:

  • Consult your physician to see if you should take an Aspirin each day.
  • Monitor your Blood pressure and Cholesterol. Both high blood pressure and high cholesterol are risk factors of heart disease, so take steps to lower whichever exceeds normal levels.
  • If you Smoke, find ways to quit. Smokers have a much higher risk of heart disease, so ask your physician for help in breaking the habit.  

Be sure to mark American Heart Month by talking to your physician about your risk of heart disease and what you can do to make your heart healthier.  

Mount Nittany Physician Group offers world-class cardiology care at multiple locations throughout the region. For more information on heart health, visit mountnittany.org. You can also call our Park Avenue office in State College at 814.689.3140, or contact our Mifflin County office at 855.689.7391. 

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