It's important for women to be aware of their heart health, not just during Heart Health Month but all year long. Here are six ways for women to protect their heart health.
1. Are you engaging in moderate exercise on a daily basis? Are you at least exercising 3-4 times a week? “If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” says Dr. Nick Cavill. Adults should attempt a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week and strength exercises for the muscles two or more days per week.
2. Eat a healthy diet. Make sure it includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Dr. Carol Ma instructs her patients to "eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like what you find in fish." Be sure you're getting your vitamins.
3. Heart attacks in women have different symptoms than heart attacks in men. Women often mistake the signs of a heart attack for indigestion and nausea. Many women feel an odd sensation in their jaw or neck, weakness, fatigue, or palpitations, which is why a woman is less likely to survive a heart attack than a man: we don't recognize the symptoms.
4. Get sufficient rest. With our busy schedules, most women don't get enough sleep. Your heart is constantly pumping. When you sleep, your heart rate slows down. It needs the rest, and so do you.
5. No smoking. Tobacco is bad for your heart, your lungs, and your breath. If you don't smoke, good for you. If you do smoke, try to quit. It's hard to break the habit, but you're worth the effort.
6. See your doctor regularly. Have your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar checked. Consult with your doctor on your exercise program.
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