February is Heart Awareness Month

There are several misconceptions about women and heart disease that could be putting you or a loved one at risk. For example heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women. Heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined with an average female death every 1 minute.

A lesson for both men and women is that this prevalent killer is highly avoidable, starting with your lifestyle. Self-awareness of your heart score* and cholesterol numbers is important to make informed choices. Living healthy doesn’t just incorporate an apple a day. It also means incorporating exercise at a minimum of 30 minutes per day, which can be as simple as a brisk walk. You’ll look good and feel good with exercise, plus exercise will improve your cholesterol levels and lower your blood pressure. There’s a common misconception that anything described as healthy food is lacking in flavor. To add insult to injury, there’s also an automatic assumption that healthy foods are unaffordable. The truth is plenty of creative ways exist to make a tasty, heart-healthy dish on an affordable budget and you don’t have to be a culinary master to do so. Just start by visiting your local farmer’s market! 

Another misconception is what you may feel if experiencing a heart attack. Some people and women especially won’t describe the classical Chest Pain, Shortness of Breath or “elephant standing on my chest” feeling. The truth is a variety of feelings can be expressed by someone suffering from a heart attack such as Not feeling well, weakness, fatigue, sweating, feeling nauseous or lightheaded. Pains in the chest, back, upper abdomen which may or may not radiate to the neck, jaw or arms are all ways a person may describe their symptoms. If any or all of these symptoms develop please call 911!

2014 marks the 11th annual day dedicated to celebrating Women and Heart Disease. Please help ThedaCare celebrate the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement by wearing Red on Friday February 7th

To learn more and calculate your heart score visit www.goredforwomen.org.