Heart disease is still stalking women without mercy . . . And unfortunately, many of us are unaware. Many of us - men and women - still don't know the signs of a heart attack in women.
Certainly, we've come a long way from the 80's when only 8% of women even knew heart disease was the biggest threat to their health, according to the American Heart Association.
Women are more likely to delay seeking help when a heart attack starts. According to research presented this year at the American Association of Cardiology conference, women having a heart attack wait longer to call and take longer to get to a hospital than men who are having
And then the problems continue to mount for women dealing with heart disease . . .
- Two times the number of women (12%) than men (6%) end up dying at the hospital after a heart attack.
- And according to the American Heart Association, one year after a heart attack, women under 55 tend to fare worse than their male counterparts. They tend to have poorer mental and physical functioning, lower standards of living, and more chest pain.
Why do women fare so poorly when it comes to heart health? As you can probably guess, the answer is complicated. And there are still many unknowns. We're only just starting to do research on heart disease that accounts for physiological differences between men and women.
Certainly, how care is administered also factors into women's poor experience when fighting heart disease. Doctors and hospitals are putting more time and attention into trying to developing ways to treat women that bring better results.
But while researchers, doctors
The biggest solution lies with women . . . The measures that seem to have the most impact both in preventing heart disease - as well as in ameliorating the outcome - are what you can do yourself in your own life.
Women's Heart Health Tip #1: Know The Signs Of A Heart Attack In Women
First things first, as an ancient general once said, you have to know your enemy to fight it.In going through the studies on women and heart disease, over and over again researchers pointed to the same problem . . .
When women have a heart attack, their symptoms don't fit the classic model we've been taught to be alert for - massive chest pains.
While most women, like men, experience chest pain, a good 19% of women do not experience this telltale heart attack sign at all. Along with or instead of this symptom, women experience:
- Pain in the jaw or arm
- Feeling hot
- Cold sweat
By knowing your heart is under attack sooner, you can seek help sooner. And - as the studies indicate - you'll probably end up with a better outcome when it comes to recovery.
But how about avoiding that trip to the hospital altogether? How about stopping the heart attack before it even starts - what else can you do to really take care of your dear heart?
Here's what you can do to lower your risk significantly.
Women's Heart Health Tip #2: Exercise Keeps Women's Risk For Heart Attack Low
No medicine in the world does more for your body - and heart in particular - like exercise. Simply by getting your heart pumping a little extra 2 or 3 times a week, you can reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke and or blood clots by as much as 20%. This is according to a study that followed over a million women with an average of 56 years for an average of 9 years.
And just to help you understand how manageable this is - the study found simple physical activities like gardening or walking counted. You just need to get to a point where you sweat a little and get your heart pumping a little faster.
Women's Heart Health Tip #3: Knock Out Stress Before It Knocks You Out
One reason why women have such a hard time keeping their heart strong is the age-old ogre, stress.
And by most accounts, women get the lion's share of stress in this world . . . According to a recent survey, more women (21%) tend to feel stress worried, anxious, nervous and stressed on a daily or weekly basis than men (16%). And preliminary research hints that women may be more sensitive to stress hormones than men are.
But not only do women experience more stress in their lives on average. It seems that this stress affects women's hearts differently from men's hearts. Dr. Viola Vaccarino has been looking at this pattern for a while. In a recent
The researchers were stunned to see that the women under 50 showed twice the amount of reduced blood flow to the heart as men. Bottom line, when they felt stress, you could see it in their blood flow. Their vessels had constricted and the blood flow had dwindled significantly.
Dr. Vaccarino notes that this matches some of what she's seeing in other research . . . Men usually have a heart attack because a blood clot blocks blood flow. But as for women . . . it seems women's heart attacks often result from stress-induced reduced blood flow to the heart.
So how can you prevent the stress in your life from taking your heart out of commission?
The best thing is to remove stressors from your life. But it's not always easy to ditch that loathsome commute when your work is on the other end . . . or stop your
However, you can do some things to help your body contend with stress better. Meditation, exercise and taking a soothing hot bath in the evening all offer stress relief. When it comes specifically to shifting how your heart responds to stress, research also indicates the herb eleuthero can make a noticeable difference, particularly in women.
Eleuthero has long been used traditionally to help the body adjust to stressors in a healthy way. A recent clinical trial also showed that when women took eleuthero before undergoing a stressful event not only did it reduce their heart rate on average by 40%, it also reduced systolic blood pressure by 60%!
Women's Heart Health Tip #4: Eat To Prevent Heart Attacks
With all the hard work your heart does, it needs all the good nourishment you can give it. Volumes of research show that when women eat well, their heart pays them back generously.
There are particular nutrients your heart needs. Vitamin B12 reduces homocysteine levels. And high homocysteine levels have been linked to increased heart disease risk. Because of the low level of vitamin B12 in a vegan diet, vegans are particularly at risk here.
Another important nutrient to make sure you're getting in your diet is magnesium. Increasingly cardiologists are recommending their patients get more dietary magnesium. Why? Magnesium acts as a vasodilator, helping your blood vessels to expand, allowing more blood to flow. If constricted blood vessels are a significant factor in women's risk for heart attacks, as Dr. Vaccarino is seeing in her research, then magnesium may be a potent heart protector for women. Bonus for all you stressed and tired women: Magnesium also helps you feel calm and energized.
Want to get all of these dietary advantages in one easy mouthful? Chlorella is one of the few plant sources of the kind of vitamin B12 our body can use. It contains a nice supply of magnesium. And it gives you the kind of dense antioxidant, vitamin-rich nutrition associated with leafy greens - like chlorophyll and vitamin A.
Treat You Heart Right And It
WIll Keep You Feeling Fine
It's sometimes hard to imagine your heart conking out on you when you're going through your day.
Your heart is "Old Reliable.” It never misses a beat . . .
That is . . . it does have trouble and stumble instead of beating strongly.And as the data shows, unfortunately women tend to have a harder time spotting heart disease when it emerges . . . and recovering from it. Know what heart attack symptoms in women look like. But don't stop there . .
Start giving your heart the help it needs before it gets to this point.
Give your heart the best medicine . . . healing power that surgery can't come close to matching. Get moving. Eat right. And reduce the stress in your life.
When you put this simple formula together, you've got a powerful recipe to keep your loyal heart beating strong well into the future. So you'll never experience the symptoms of a heart attack.
About Michael E. Rosenbaum, M.D.
Dr. Michael E. Rosenbaum is a 35-year veteran and widely recognized pioneer in the field of nutritional medicine, alternative healthcare
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