9 Tips For Reducing Risk Of Heart Disease That All Women Should Follow

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You may be surprised to learn that heart disease, and not cancer, is the single biggest cause of death in women of all ages. According to the American Heart Association, while cancer kills one out of every 31 women in the U.S. annually, heart disease claims one out of three – or, one death per minute!

It’s time to break down the myths and misinformation surrounding this disease and empower women of all ages to take charge of their heart health

Heart disease – not for just for men:

A common myth is that heart disease is a ‘man’s illness’. Nothing could be further from the truth: heart disease has killed more women than men since 1984. The fact is that heart disease is often misdiagnosed in women: a woman is more likely to die from a first heart attack than a man.

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Heart disease affects women of all ages:

A third fallacy is that heart disease is an older person’s illness. Unfortunately, heart disease for younger women is on the rise, due mainly to the use of birth control pills as well smoking. Due to prevalence of fast food, computers and other sedentary forms of entertainment, more young people are overweight today than in past years, which increases the overall risk for everyone, including younger women.

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“If I have no symptoms, I must be okay.”

The fact is that a whopping 64 percent of women who died of coronary heart disease had no prior symptoms. The common belief is that heart attacks are always accompanied by chest pain. While that may be true for many men, women usually exhibit an entirely different set of symptoms. These may include the following symptoms:

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  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and/ or vomiting
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Pain in the jaw or back
  • Pain in the lower chest or abdomen
  • Extreme fatigue

“I’m not worried about heart disease – I’m fit, thin and active.”

Good for you – but even the fittest yoga buff or marathon runner isn’t home free. If the ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol is too high, you smoke, or eat a high-fat and/ or meat-based diet, you have a much higher risk of dying from heart disease. The AHA recommends getting a ‘baseline’ cholesterol checkup by age 20 (or sooner if there’s a family history of heart disease) and pay attention to your blood pressure.