Healthy Living: Heart disease #1 killer of women, according to the American Heart Association

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year.

"We know that people who are overweight or obese have increased risk of heart disease and stroke," Dr. Mary Ann Bauman, with the American Heart Association said.

Every year in October, thousands of people join together for the Annual Heart Walk in Seattle.  It's an event to raise money for research and awareness.   According to the AHA, 80% of heart disease in women is preventable.

"Exercise, eat more fruits and vegetables," Dr. Bauman said.  "You want to have omega 3 fish oils like salmon, fatty fish, increase fiber in your diet, that will help lower cholesterol, exercising and not smoking."

Dr. Bauman says there are 5 critical numbers every woman should know and talk to their doctor about.  Those include:

  • Total cholesterol
  • HDL Cholesterol (the bad kind)
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood sugar
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)

Since 2004, the AHA's Go Red For Women campaign has worked to dispel the myths about heart disease and stroke.  For example, did you know the symptoms for a heart attack in women are often different than what men experience.  Most think chest pain, but when a woman is having a heart attack, she may also experience pain in her back, neck, jaw and stomach.  Women may also notice shortness of breath, feeling lightheaded and notice pressure on their chest that comes and goes, according to the AHA.

If you'd like to learn more about heart attacks and warning signs click here

To lower the risk of heart disease, doctors say exercise is key to the equation.  The AHA says 30 minutes a day can reduce coronary heart disease in women by 30 to 40-percent, and reduce the risk of stroke by 20-percent.

It's also important women and men recognize the signs of a stroke.  The acronym, F.A.S.T. was developed to help people remember.

  • F- Face drooping
  • A- Arm weakness
  • S- Speech difficulty
  • T- Time to call 9-1-1

If you notice any of these signs, make sure to call 9-1-1 right away.

If you'd like to learn more about stroke, click here

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