Bowling Green, OH – Heart disease is the number one killer of women and is more deadly than all cancers combined. One in three women will die of heart disease and stroke, killing approximately one woman every minute. Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing nearly 380,000 people annually. Every year about 720,000 Americans have a heart attack. Heart disease risk factors include smoking, overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, family history and age (55 and older for women).
It is important to know the warning signs of a heart attack as about 47% of sudden cardiac deaths occur outside a hospital, suggesting that many people with heart disease don’t act on early warning signs. Warning signs of a heart attack include chest discomfort; discomfort in other areas of the upper body, including one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach; shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness, unusual or unexplained fatigue. Women are more likely to show the other symptoms beyond the classic chest discomfort symptom, which people most often associate with a heart attack. If you have any of these symptoms, don’t drive yourself to the hospital – it is important to call 9-1-1 within minutes in order to speed treatment.
It’s never too late to improve your heart health! The good news is that about 80% of heart disease is preventable – only family history and age are beyond your control. Heart disease can be prevented or controlled by making lifestyle changes and, if needed, taking medication. Small steps can make a big difference towards having a healthy heart. Make heart-healthy changes to your eating habits, maintain a healthy weight, stop smoking, manage diabetes, and take medications if prescribed.
As February is National Heart Month, Wood County Health District is encouraging Wood County residents to talk to their healthcare provider about their risk for heart disease and to learn more about what they can do to prevent heart disease. We also urge residents to “Go Red for Women” on Friday, February 6, 2015 to show support and bring awareness to heart disease in women by wearing red.