February is Heart Month — which makes this a great time to talk about the issues women face keeping their hearts healthy.
Many women are surprised to learn that heart disease is the number-one killer of women in America. That’s one big reason St.Vincent Heart Center of Indiana is the presenting sponsor of Indianapolis Goes Red for Women — part of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement that celebrates the energy, passion, and power women have to band together and wipe out heart disease.
Taking care of your heart involves a lot of common sense. You need to stay physically active, exercising 30 to 60 minutes a day, most days of the week. You need to eat a heart-healthy diet low in saturated fats, cholesterol, and salt. Exercise and eating right will help you maintain a healthy weight, and your heart will thank you.
Also, if you smoke, now would be a great time to quit. If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
Certain other factors — including stress, depression, and lower levels of estrogen after menopause — create additional risk for women, too.
We also want to make sure you know that the warning signs of a heart attack are different for women. While chest pain is the most common warning sign for men and women, it isn’t always the most obvious sign for women. Other warning signs that are particular to women include: shortness of breath; neck, shoulder, upper back, and abdominal pain; nausea or vomiting; sweating; dizziness; and feeling unusually exhausted.
If you’re over 40, you might also consider a HeartScan from St.Vincent Health. It’s fast and easy. You can have a HeartScan at five convenient St.Vincent locations. And during Heart Month, it’s just $49 (instead of $99). That’s a small price to pay for a lot of peace of mind.
Here’s to a very happy and healthy Heart Month!