This is a great video from GoRedForWomen with Elizabeth Banks showing how women have a difficult time believing that they might actually be having a heart attack:
I loved her line, “I hate to bother you, but I think I might be having a heart attack.”
What Should Women Watch Out For:
- A feeling of tightness in the chest
- Sudden fatigue
- Sudden sweating
- Shortness of breath
- Shoulder or neck pain
- Pain in the left arm
- Chest Pain with exercise or activity, especially if it improves with rest
So, if you have any of these symptoms, don’t wait, call 911 or go to the Emergency Room. You might be surprised to learn that after this video came out in 2012, thousands of women recognized themselves and the worrisome symptoms they had been ignoring and then sought help, which saved their lives.
Why Women are different
Women experience heart disease very differently than men do. Where a man might have crushing chest pain that indicates a heart attack, a woman may only feel a little nauseated or start sweating.
Confusing? Yes, because most of us associate a heart attack or heart disease with crushing chest pain. And yet, for women, the signs of heart disease can be so mild that we ignore them.
These signs and symptoms could be from any number of different conditions. However, if they persist or they only occur with exercise or activity and then improve with rest, it’s time to see your health care provider. Pay attention to any worrisome signs and
symptoms and contact your health care provider or get to an Emergency Room.
What Tests Should Women be Asking For?
- Baseline Cholesterol screening
- Blood Pressure
- Fasting Glucose
- C-Reactive Protein
What Should We Do to Lower our Risks of Heart Disease
There are some risk factors that are out of our control, such as family history. However, it’s not completely out of your hands.
You CAN make small differences that can save your life. A healthy diet, and a plant-based, not necessarily plant exclusive really does reduce your risk of heart disease. That’s because of all of the antioxidants that protect the teeny tiny coronary blood vessels that bring blood to your heart.
One area that always surprises my patients is how eating too many carbs impacts triglyceride levels, leading to higher LDL, which is the type of cholesterol that leads to blockages in arteries. (See: What is a Carbohydrate?)
Try these proven ways to stay healthier:
- Eat more heart-healthy foods: Almonds, oatmeal, wild salmon, whole grains, more vegetables
- Limit red meat and high cholesterol foods
- Substitute fish and leaner plant-based proteins like soybeans, nuts and beans
- Exercise to maintain a healthy weight
- Stop smoking
Your heart is loving, open and warm and it’s a good idea to take good care of it.