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February is American Heart Month

March 1, 2024

 –  February is nationally recognized as American Heart Month, a critical period dedicated to raising awareness about heart health and urging individuals to take proactive steps towards cardiovascular wellness – especially women. It’s a time when healthcare professionals, communities, and families come together to spread knowledge about the prevention and management of heart disease. This month serves as a poignant backdrop to stories like Sarah’s, emphasizing the importance of understanding the unique symptoms of heart attacks in women, and the necessity of immediate action. By focusing on heart health in February, we’re reminded of the essential lifestyle changes, educational efforts, and community initiatives that can significantly impact our collective wellbeing, encouraging everyone to prioritize their heart health not just this month, but throughout the entire year. 

One of the main points of focus during American Heart Month is educating individuals about the unique symptoms of heart attacks in women. While chest pain or discomfort may be a common symptom for both men and women, women are more likely to experience other warning signs.  Heart attacks in women can often present differently than they do in men, making awareness and early detection critically important. Symptoms in women may not always include the classic chest pain; instead, they might experience shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, back or jaw pain, and fatigue. To prevent heart attacks, women are advised to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, managing stress levels, and avoiding smoking. Additionally, regular health screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and diabetes can help identify risk factors early. Recognizing the signs and taking preventative measures can significantly reduce the risk and ensure a prompt response if a heart attack occurs.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, but did you know that heart attacks can present differently in women? This is why it’s crucial for women to be aware of their unique risk factors and symptoms.  Firstly, it’s important to understand that hormones play a role in how heart disease affects women. Estrogen has a protective effect on the heart, which decreases after menopause. This means that post-menopausal women are at an increased risk for heart disease.

We now share a poignant story. Sarah, a 42-year-old high school teacher, prided herself on her active lifestyle and balanced diet. She was the embodiment of health in her community, often seen leading weekend yoga classes in the park. One Tuesday morning, as she prepared for the busy school day ahead, she felt an unusual fatigue that she brushed off as the result of her rigorous schedule. Throughout the day, this fatigue was accompanied by a slight, yet persistent, pain in her jaw. Assuming it was just stress or perhaps a dental issue she had overlooked, Sarah continued her day unfazed. It was only when she experienced a sudden shortness of breath while climbing the stairs to her apartment that evening, a sensation so severe it stopped her in her tracks, that she realized something was terribly wrong. These were not the classic signs of a heart attack that she had always been taught to look out for; there was no overwhelming chest pain, no dramatic collapse. Yet, here she was, experiencing a heart attack without even knowing it. It was this moment of realization that spurred her into action, leading her to seek immediate medical attention. Sarah’s story serves as a strong reminder of the subtle ways in which heart attacks can manifest, especially in women, and the critical importance of recognizing and responding to these signs promptly.

To schedule a free 45 minute consultation about this and other related topics, reach out to us @ 888.451.4290 – We are here to help adult children deal with aging parent’s issues.

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