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February is Heart Health Month

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Joan Lunden

Heart Health / / January 31, 2014

In honor of the beginning of Heart Month I want to take a minute to talk to you about heart disease in women. Many women don’t realize the importance of being educated about this disease and how relevant heart disease awareness is specifically to women. Heart disease is the number one killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer. Many women would have a hard time even recognizing if they were having a heart attack. My mission is to change the statistics of heart disease among women by helping to educate Americans about prevention. So let's start this month off right with some basic prevention tips from my friends at the American Heart Association:

Don’t smoke

Smoking increases the risk of heart disease and stroke by 2 to 4 times. Also, women who smoke have a 25 percent higher risk of developing heart disease as compared to men who smoke.

Manage your blood sugar and blood pressure 

High blood pressure is a condition that makes the heart work harder than normal. And left untreated, it scars and damages your arteries and can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, eye damage, heart failure and fatty buildups in the arteries.

Lower your cholesterol

Learn the difference between good and bad cholesterol. High cholesterol has no symptoms, and many people have it without knowing. Find out what your cholesterol levels are so you can lower them if you need to.

Know your family history

Both the risk of heart disease and risk factors are strongly linked to family history. Talk to your family members to find out if you are at risk.

Stay active and lose weight if you need to

Exercising will help reduce your risk of heart disease as well as help improve blood circulation, manage your weight, help you quite smoking, improve cholesterol levels, prevent high blood pressure, prevent bone loss, boost energy, manage stress, help you sleep, and much more!

Eat healthy

Fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, and nuts are all great for your heart. Need some recipe ideas? Try some of these. (or we can insert our own if we have any)

Heart Health is Mind and Body Health

The great thing about all of these prevention tips is not only that are great for your heart, but they are beneficial to your overall health as well. A new AHA study shows that having good heart health can reduce women’s risk of dementia. And while your shedding those pounds for your heart, you are also reducing your risk of diabetes. While striving for a healthy heart you’ll have more energy, less stress, feel younger, and be happier.

Are You Having a Heart Attack?

This may seem like a ridiculous question. You may assume if you were having a heart attack you would know it, but if you’re a woman the signs may not be so easy to recognize.  It’s for this reason women often don’t get help when they are experiencing a heart attack. That and women tend to put their family responsibilities before their own health.  Women may not have the obvious feeling of extreme pressure on their chest so be aware of these symptoms so you can be prepared to take action and call 9-1-1 right away if you experience them:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Back or jaw pain
  • Dizziness/ lightheadedness or fainting
  • Pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen
  • Extreme fatigue

Stay tuned for lots more Heart Health information throughout the month! 

Categories: Heart Health
About The Author
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Joan Lunden truly exemplifies today’s modern working woman. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, one of America’s most recognized and trusted television personalities, this mom of seven continues to do it all. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Lunden brought insight to top issues for millions of Americans each day. The longest running host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 4 presidents and 5 Olympics and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families and themselves.

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