With February being Heart Health Awareness Month the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group seeks to expand on the American Heart Association’s (AHA) focus on heart health. Dr. Tara Bartlett, D.O. shares some tips on what women need to be on the lookout for, along with some tips for staying healthy.
According to the AHA women may have a slightly lower incidence of cardiovascular disease (35 percent compared to 37.4 percent for men) but they are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than are men. As many as one out of three deaths among women are attributed to heart disease. Perhaps the most alarming statistic is the one that puts 90 percent of all women in the crosshairs for having one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke.
It’s all about healthy living
There is some good news in the world of facts about women and heart health – 80 percent of heart disease and stroke events could be prevented simply by making a few lifestyle changes. Becoming educated about cardiovascular disease is also important. At the top of the list of increasing a woman’s chance of surviving cardiovascular disease is learning the signs and symptoms of heart disease and heart attacks before they happen. Among the things women can to do get and stay heart healthy includes: taking up a healthy diet of whole foods (avoiding processed alternatives), keeping weight at a normal BMI level, getting plenty of exercise (at least 20 minutes a day), controlling high blood pressure if you have it, avoiding excess salt and not smoking.
“Fitness is a factor for women of all ages, and even more significant for those who have known risk factors for heart disease and stroke,” says Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group’s Dr. Tara Bartlett. “Making specific lifestyle changes is one of the most effective ways to maintain a healthy heart.”
Signs to watch out for
When it comes to heart attacks, a cardiovascular event can be very different for women when compared to what men experience. Women’s symptoms tend to be much milder and less specific than men’s and may include seemingly innocuous symptoms such as fatigue, sleep problems, indigestion and weakness in the arms. Some women experience a sense of foreboding for no apparent reason. These symptoms are often missed, or dismissed, by women and misdiagnosed by health care professionals.
There has been quite a bit of discussion lately about the fact that women are often treated less aggressively by medical professionals once they’ve had a heart attack. They are also reportedly less likely than men to receive medications that prevent future heart events such as beta blockers, statins and ACE inhibitors. “When women are empowered to understand the signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease, they have a greater opportunity to be proactive about their own healthcare,” says Dr. Bartlett. “It’s more important than ever for women to be educated about heart disease, as it’s the leading cause of death for both women and men in this country.”
About Women’s OBGYN Medical Group
The provider team of expert OB/GYN physicians, certified nurse midwives, family nurse practitioners, and medical assistants provides unmatched care to patients in our region. As women proudly serving women, we understand the needs and expectations of our patients. For more information call (707) 579-1102 or visit the website.