Heart disease is the leading killer of women in the United States, and more than 90% of women have at least one risk factor for heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. It’s important for every woman to know how to keep her heart healthy, as well as how to identify the unique signs and symptoms of heart problems in women.
If you pay attention to risk factors and keep up healthy habits, you can prevent or lessen the impacts of heart disease. Here at Tim Martin M.D. in Abilene, Texas, we recommend that women know their unique risks for heart problems and take practical steps to maintain their heart health. Dr. Martin has the expertise in cardiovascular health you can trust when it comes to keeping your ticker strong and steady.
Signs of heart problems in women
While both men and women often experience chest pain as the most common symptom of a heart attack, women can have a wider range of symptoms. A woman having a heart attack may have pain or pressure in the lower chest or upper abdomen or pain in the neck or upper back. She may also experience nausea, indigestion, shortness of breath, or extreme fatigue.
If you suspect that you may be having a heart attack based on any of these symptoms, get emergency medical attention right away.
Women’s unique risk factors for heart disease
Women are at a higher risk of developing heart disease if they have other medical conditions. These include diabetes, depression or mental stress, and the hormonal changes related to menopause. Smoking and lack of exercise can also contribute to heart disease. Women may need to take practical steps to keep their hearts healthy, especially if they have a family history of heart disease.
Keeping your heart healthy
It’s important for women of all ages to maintain good heart health, especially if other risk factors increase their likelihood of contracting heart disease. Follow these suggestions for continued heart health.
- Give up smoking and avoid exposure to second-hand smoke
- Get regular exercise
- Eat a healthy diet low in saturated fats, added sugars, and salt
- Manage your stress
- Limit your alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day
At Tim Martin M.D., we can help you develop a plan for maintaining heart health. If needed, prescription medications can help support your heart or lower your blood pressure. We can also help you manage conditions like diabetes that can lead to heart-related complications.
To schedule your appointment with a member of our care team, call our office today or book your appointment online.