Every day as you go through your routine, your heart is pumping, sending blood throughout your body, allowing you to meet stressful work deadlines, help your kids with their homework, and advance in spin class. Unfortunately, the extra important organ will not stay strong forever, especially if you are maintaining any bad habits you may have.
23 facts about heart health every woman should know
Here are 23 heart health facts every woman should know to keep her heart healthy for years to come.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women
There are many reasons to maintain a healthy heart, but this may be the most important: If you don't, it could kill you. Although heart disease is most often associated with men, it is the leading cause of death for women in the US, causing 1 in 4 female deaths per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What you eat makes a big difference
You know that eating a healthy, vegetable-laden diet benefits your overall health, and that's especially true when it comes to your heart. While French fries and mac n cheese are delicious, sticking to foods low in salt or sodium is recommended, which limits trans fats (which, in excess, can cause heart attacks) and added sugar.
Other health problems increase your risk of heart problems
If you are not taking care of your body, it becomes more difficult to avoid problems with your heart. You can easily increase your risk of heart disease, for example, if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, two problems that can be life-threatening if you don't focus on managing them now.
Stress plays a role in heart health
Unfortunately, a woman's heart is much more affected by stress than a man's. Since you can increase your risk of developing heart disease, focus on adding time to your schedule now to relieve some of that tension, whether that's doing a daily exercise, meditating, or problem-solving with a therapist.
Heart attacks don't look like they do on TV
In movies and on television, heart attacks are very theatrical - someone usually grabs their chest and falls. In reality, things are very different for women. Typically, a heart attack simply involves experiencing chest pain or discomfort, upper back pain, heartburn, nausea, and extreme fatigue. Many times, you may not even know that you are having one. That is why prevention is better than cure if you feel any signs.
Staying active is essential
To keep your heart in peak condition, it's important to make sure you stay active. That means trying to get 2 hours and 30 minutes of exercise each week, even if it just means a quick workout after you get home at night. (That works out to only about 21 minutes a day. Anyone can do it.)
When it comes to heart health, the drink should be almost zero
While a few glasses of wine while watching your favorite TV show in the evening doesn't seem like a big deal, it is for your heart. According to the CDC, women should have no more than one drink per day; Otherwise, without moderation, it could lead to long-term problems, including heart disease.
It is possible to have a broken heart
Most people have experienced a broken heart at some point in their life, but it is actually a legitimate, serious medical condition. Broken heart syndrome involves experiencing a severe form of heart failure that is usually temporary after going through a stressful situation. So if you are dealing with something, take care - your heart needs it.
Menopause can affect your heart
When you go through menopause, you're dealing with fatigue, hot flashes, insomnia, all kinds of not-so-fun symptoms. But those lower levels of estrogen that occur afterward can also affect your heart. Menopause is a significant risk factor for heart disease.
You don't have to be overweight to be at risk for heart disease
While obesity is a risk factor for heart disease, it is still entirely possible to develop it when you are thin. Previous research has found that it can also happen to adults in the recommended weight range, especially if they have high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Women have smaller hearts
Not many people realize it, but women's hearts are actually smaller than men's - two-thirds the size, in fact. Because of that, your heart rate is faster and you have smaller arteries, which can make it easier for them to be blocked by plaque and cause health problems.
Depression can play a role in your heart health
As if fighting depression isn't hard enough anymore, people with the disorder develop heart disease faster than the rest of the population. Since depression is more common in women than men, it's important to focus on your mental health now - for your happiness and overall well-being, but also for your body.
Being pregnant can put stress on your heart
If you are thinking about getting pregnant, it is a good idea to know the effects on your heart. Having high blood pressure during those nine months can put a lot of stress on your organ, which in turn can increase your risk of heart disease.
The Yoyo diet can negatively affect your heart
Rather than go on crazy diets, stick with something that can keep you going for years to come, especially since previous research shows that consistently losing and gaining weight after menopause could increase your risk of sudden cardiac arrest and coronary heart disease. Actually, the instance was found to be stronger in women with a normal BMI.
You need to sleep well
You may be super healthy in other areas of your life, but if you don't get enough sleep at night, you still have a higher risk of heart disease, possibly due to an impact on your blood pressure.
Marital stress can lead to heart disease
There's a big reason why you shouldn't let your fights get out of hand: Previous research has found that the stress of such disagreements could lead to atherosclerosis in women, causing the arteries to harden. It is the leading cause of heart attacks and can play a role in the development of heart disease.
Your migraines could be related to heart problems
If you have a history of migraines, make sure your doctor knows about it. Previous research shows that it could be an indicator of an increased risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke later in life, so it's a good idea to make sure your health is under control as soon as possible.
Sitting all day, every day, can affect your heart
It's difficult sometimes to move around a lot during the day, especially if you have a desk job. But taking those extra steps can be very good for your heart. One study found that women who sat more than 10 hours a day had a higher risk of stroke, seizures, and heart disease than those who only sat for 5 hours or less a day.
Women's heart problems come later in life
While heart problems can arise at any age, most women develop problems later in life due to a further increase in cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, weight gain, and hormonal imbalance in menopause. Because of that, it's best to get your health under control as soon as possible by making sure you're eating right and exercising frequently.
Leg swelling could be a sign of bigger problems
If you ever notice swelling in your legs, don't rule out edema, which occurs when your heart can't pump blood out of your legs properly. If you're also experiencing symptoms like shortness of breath and fatigue, you could be dealing with heart failure.
Chest pain may be more serious than you think
When you experience angina, or chest pain, which is a warning sign of heart disease, it may not seem like a big problem. Most women think it is just indigestion or stress and ignore it, which is why it is not diagnosed so often. But to make sure you don't develop any serious problems, it's a good idea to get your aches and pains checked.
Smoking is much worse for your heart than you think
Smoking is generally associated with being horrible for the lungs, but it's also bad for the heart. Experts say that due to the increase in blood pressure it causes, your blood vessels develop a build-up of plaque that can put your heart at risk. So much so that it doubles the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease
Diabetes is bad news for your heart. Not only does it make you more prone to developing heart disease, it also puts you at risk of having a heart attack or stroke. That is why it is so important to manage it properly; If you don't, your life could end because of it.