Facts About Heart Disease:
- Heart disease is the biggest health threat for women: It is the #1 killer of women worldwide and it affects women of all ages.
- Heart disease cannot be cured. It is a chronic condition. But it’s never too late to start improving your heart health. 80% of risk factors are within your control to change. Here are a few simple steps you can take to prevent heart disease:
- Get active: 30 minutes each day, 5 times per week. Make sure to try-out different physical activities that you enjoy.
- Eat better: fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains and lean meats such as fish are great choices.
- Maintain a healthy body weight: help reduce the burden on your heart, ungs, blood vessels and skeleton to improve your overall health.
- Don’t smoke: there is no safe number of cigarettes. Quitting is the best thing you can do for your health.
- Control your cholesterol:this gives your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages.
- Manage your blood pressure: high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. Keeping your blood pressure within healthy ranges reduces the strain on your heart, arteries and kidneys.
- Reduce your blood sugar: temporary spikes in blood sugar after meals is normal, but long-term inconsistencies can damage your kidneys, eyes and nerves.
For both men and women, the most common sign of a heart attack is chest pain or discomfort, which includes a feeling of pressure, squeezing, fullness, pain, burning or heaviness. Women, however, can experience a heart attack without chest pressure. They may experience:
- shortness of breath,
- pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen (i.e., neck, jaw, shoulder, arms, back or stomach),
- nausea or gastrointestinal issues,
- dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, or
- extreme fatigue.
What actions should you take if you, or someone you know, is experiencing a heart attack?
- Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately, or have someone call for you.
- Stop all activity and sit down or lie down in whatever position is most comfortable.
- If you have been prescribed nitroglycerin, take your normal dosage.
- If you are experiencing chest pain, chew and swallow one adult 325 mg ASA tablet (commonly referred to as Aspirin) or two 80mg ASA tablets.
- Wait for emergency medical services personnel to arrive.
Find more detailed information about heart health in the following resources:
- Women’s Healthy Heart Initiative Pamphlet and Life’s Simple Seven
- Canadian Women’s Heart Health Center’s Heart Disease and Women: What’s at Stake?
- Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada’s Take Charge of Your Heart Health—Do you know your risks?
- You can also find a long list of resources from the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada
- What Questions Should You Ask Your Doctor About Your Risks of Heart Disease
Source: Much of the above information above was shared by special guest, Wendy Wray, RN, B.Sc. N, Nurse, who spoke to us about women’s heart health, how simple lifestyle changes can lower your risk for heart, as well as some of the more common signs of heart disease in women.
Watch our Live Chat with Moira Teed, M.Sc, MSW, RSW, Senior Specialist – Lived Experience Liaison, at the Heart & Stroke Foundation about available online resources offered to seniors and caregivers through the non-profit community organization.