February is Heart Month - William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
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William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital

 

February is Heart Month

Women’s Health staff support Heart Month by wearing red

Women’s Health staff support Heart Month by wearing red

By Meghan Snitkin and Gail Hunt, LCSW, Women Veterans Health Program
Friday, February 10, 2012

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. About every 25 seconds someone will have a coronary event. Although heart disease is often thought of as a problem for just men, more women than men die of heart disease each year. Heart disease does not only affect women over the age of 65, but it is the third leading cause of death among women aged 25-44 years and the second leading cause of death among women aged 45-64 years. One of the challenges is that the symptoms in women can be different than the symptoms in men. Fortunately, we can take steps to understand the symptoms and begin to reduce the risk of heart disease.

The most common heart attack symptoms in women are some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. It may not be severe or even the prominent symptom. Women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms that are unrelated to chest pain.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting, cold sweat and lightheadedness
  • Pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck jaw or abdominal area
  • Unusual fatigue

The most common heart attack symptoms in men may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling light-headed, weak  or faint
  • Pain, numbness, weakness, or coldness in your legs or arms

Know these signs, but remember if you are not sure if you are having a heart attack, get it checked out. Minutes matter! Don’t wait, call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number.

Prevention
80% of heart events, especially in women can be prevented by making certain lifestyle choices. The following changes can help anyone who wants to improve his or her heart:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit or do not smoke
  • Eat a diet low in saturated fat, salt and cholesterol
  • Get moving:  exercise 30-60 minutes most days of the week
  • Manage stress:  practice healthy techniques for managing stress

Please show your support for the fight against heart disease by wearing red on February 14 when Dr. Miguel Leal, VA Director of Electrophysiology, speaks on “Cardiac Arrhythmias – An Overview” at 7:30-8:30am in B2055

For more information:
www.heart.org
www.cdc.gov/heartdisease
www.mayoclinic.com/heart

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