Until recently, medical science had a glaring oversight when it came to women’s health. Many researchers failed to consider that there were key biological differences between men and women. As clinical trials and medical research grants now focus on a more balanced representation of the sexes, we’re learning vital information about the unique aspects of women’s health, particularly when it comes to the heart. Read on to learn four heart-healthy tips for women.
1. Understand the Symptoms of Heart Disease
There are several reasons why heart disease is invisible to most women. For years, heart disease was thought to be a male health concern, and studies prior to the 1990s didn’t include women. Because of this long-standing exclusion, many women don’t consider that they, too, can develop heart disease, making them more likely to dismiss their symptoms.
What’s more, many women remain unaware that the symptoms of specific heart health concerns, like a heart attack, can vary between men and women. While chest tightness is well-known as a common indicator for heart attack in men, women may present with symptoms that aren’t typically associated with heart attacks, like nausea or severe abdominal pressure.
2. Learn How Lifestyle Affects Women’s Heart Health
You are what you eat, live and breathe, so choosing a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in supporting heart health. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and avoiding smoking are all important behaviors women can adopt to protect their heart health.
3. Know Your Cardiovascular Risk Factors
Your blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels all contribute to your heart health. Knowing each of your levels can help you make smart decisions about your lifestyle and wellness. A family history of heart disease makes you more vulnerable, but knowledge is power. Understanding your risk factors can help keep you well.
4. Protect Your Heart Health
Make time for regular checkups, and be sure to follow any medical advice your doctor gives you. If you do have a family history of heart disease, schedule heart health screenings with a board certified cardiologist to identify any potential issues early on.