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Women's Health

Womens Heart Health

One area of wellness that many women overlook is womens heart health. Women may think about ovarian cancer, breast cancer, weight gain, but they do not stop to realize how important it is to take care of their heart. Heart disease claims one out of three American women and in 2003, almost twice as many women died of heart disease than all types of cancer combined. African American and Hispanic American women are particularly at risk due to certain factors such as obesity, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

What is heart disease? It comes in many forms of conditions, but it is anything that affects the heart or the blood vessels of the heart. The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which is the leading cause of heart attacks. The arteries become narrow and your heart cannot get all the blood it needs. Sometimes women experience heart failure because the heart is not pumping blood as well as it should. If you experience a shortness of breath, swelling in your extremities, or extreme tiredness, you should consult your doctor. These symptoms may not be caused by heart failure, but it is best to have it checked out. Heart arrhythmia is another type of heart condition some women experience. This occurs when the beating of the heart changes. It is not unusual to have your heart flutter or race every once in a while, but if you feel dizzy, faint, or out of breath, call 911 at once for help.

There are womens heart health tips to help you avoid heart disease. You should know what your blood pressure is. You can have it taken at the doctor's office, at local retail stores and pharmacies, or you can purchase a small monitor for home. Do not look for symptoms of high blood pressure because often, there are not any. If you do have high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe a diet lower in salt, exercise, or even prescription medication if the first two fail.

Another helpful womens heart health tip is if you smoke, quit. Yes, it is hard, but almost immediately after you stop, your body will begin to change for the better. You can ask your doctor about products such as nicotine gum and patches as well as support groups and programs to help you quit smoking.

There are several tests you should have to make sure your heart is not at risk. Get a diabetes test, especially if you have a history of diabetes in your family. Having diabetes increases your chances of getting heart disease. Get your cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked. Having high cholesterol can clog your arteries, thus preventing a good, solid blood flow to your heart.

Final womens heart health tips are to maintain a good, healthy weigh (if you are overweight, ask your doctor about an exercise plan or diet plan that can work for you), limit your alcohol intake to no more than one drink a day, and try to find ways to lower your stress levels. All of these things can help you lead a longer life by having a healthier heart!

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