May 9-15 is National Women's Health Week
I feel good, I'm active, and I'm young. So why should I worry about heart disease?
HAP urges women to never underestimate their symptoms
May 9-15 is National Women's Health Week, and there is no women's health topic that warrants more attention than heart disease. Half of all women who have a heart attack don't survive, and women typically underestimate their symptoms.
Health Alliance Plan (HAP) is asking influential women throughout metro Detroit to help spread the word during Women's Health Week that just because a woman is active and feels young, she should never assume that she is not at risk for a heart attack or stroke.
"Women today tend to fear breast cancer because it's a popular topic, but heart attack and stroke kill many more women than all cancers combined," said Dr. Mary Beth Bolton, MD, FACP, chief health officer at HAP. "When it comes to heart disease, women have worse outcomes than men and it is harder to treat. We owe it to all of the women in our lives to help them understand their risks, know the symptoms and prevent them from dying or experiencing the devastating effects of a heart attack or stroke."
According to Bolton, it is not uncommon for women in their fifties or early sixties to experience chest pain, brush it off as indigestion and take an antacid, then end up dead or in the operating room with a difficult road ahead.
To prevent premature death and disability from heart attack and stroke, Bolton urges women to:
1) Know the symptoms of a heart attack.
Most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Although the most common symptom in women is chest pain or discomfort, women are more likely to experience more subtle symptoms like indigestion, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
2) Report your symptoms to your doctor.
Don't just assume that you're too young for heart disease, and don't let the people in your life convince you that it's not serious.
3) Quit Smoking.
Ask your health insurer about your options, or if you are uninsured, the State of Michigan can help. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
4) Get your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar under control.
Ask your doctor what your levels should be to reduce your risk.
5) Maintain a healthy weight.