Women and Heart Disease

Spring is a time of renewal and recharging. As it relates the heart health, there are strategies we can use to help Moms (and women of all ages) renew their health and combat some of the major health concerns they face.

What’s the #1 Killer of Women?
The top killer of women and men, alike, is Heart Disease. Almost a quarter of all women die from what has been dubbed the silent killer. In my mind it is even more of a silent killer in women than it is in men. Why? Because, when ask the majority of women what they think is the number one killer of women, most do not say Heart disease. Cancer is the most popular answer.

Here’s the breakdown of diseases robbing America’s children of their Moms:

3-Woman-Heart-Health-ImageSadly, it’s the misconception that cancer–not heart disease–is the number one killer of women that continues to have women fall victim to a fairly preventable disease.

The first thing we need to do to correct this is to inform women about the issue and then educate them to make different choices in their healthcare. With education comes empowerment. Empowering women will not only positively affect their health but the health of their entire family. When moms make educated changes about their own well being, they are teaching their children healthy lifestyle lessons that, in turn, can alter the course of our entire society’s health.

We need to shout from the roof tops that heart disease is the top killer in our country…and that it is by and large preventable!

Stress Contributes
When I was young, I had no clue that my Mom was even the slightest bit stressed out. I think that’s one of Gods gifts to children, enabling them to go through their young lives oblivious to the world’s stressors. I also believe that Moms are hardwired to inherently put on a happy face for their children, regardless of the stresses occurring on the inside.

Of course, some stress can be healthy in small doses, but the accumulation of stress on the body creates chemistry; it’s our body’s reaction to stress that either creates a healthy situation or a negative health occurrence. If the body stays in a stressed state for extended periods of time, we change our internal chemical make up and our bodies response can turn unhealthy. These unhealthy presentations include raising the heart rate, which then results in hormonal changes, weight gain, and inflammation. This can almost be referred to as a terrible triad of responses that, if left unchecked, eventually, lead to symptoms and the major diseases that are the leading causes of death in women in the United States.

Symptoms of Heart Failure
Heart failure can be ongoing (chronic), or your condition may start suddenly (acute). Heart failure signs and symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea) when you exert yourself or when you lie down
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Swelling (edema) in your legs, ankles and feet
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Reduced ability to exercise
  • Persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged phlegm
  • Increased need to urinate at night
  • Swelling of your abdomen (ascites)
  • Sudden weight gain from fluid retention
  • Lack of appetite and nausea
  • Difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness
  • Sudden, severe shortness of breath and coughing up pink, foamy mucus
  • Chest pain if your heart failure is caused by a heart attack