There’s love in the air! Yes, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, but February is also heart health month, and for women especially it’s a great time of year to educate oneself and loved ones about the warning signs of heart disease and heart attacks.
The signs differ by gender. I recently watched an episode of Grey’s Anatomy (OK, guilty pleasure, I still like Grey’s Anatomy), and for a good portion of the episode the female head of surgery tried to convince the head of cardiology at a medical institution that she was having a heart attack. The echocardiogram (a sonogram of the heart) reading seemed normal, and thus the cardiologist was convinced it was all in her head and sent her for a psych consult. Sound familiar ladies? Women are often told medical symptoms are in their head and not taken seriously. But I digress!
Apparently heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, yet women often attribute the symptoms to acid reflux, or the flu. In many cases, women just ignore the signs altogether. Heartbreaking!
“Many women think the signs of a heart attack are unmistakable, but in fact they can be subtler and sometimes confusing.”
According to the AHA (American Heart Association), women are somewhat more likely than men to experience particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. For your reference, below is table of symptoms by gender:
Regardless of your gender, listen to what your heart is telling you. If experiencing a heart attack, the sooner treatment is received, the more likely the recovery.
Health-focused company CVS offers complimentary heart health screenings every Wednesday during February. Find a location and make an appointment now.
And if you’re rolling your eyes, consider your family history. If parents and/or grandparents have suffered from heart disease, you are at risk. Eating right, exercising, and managing stress through practices like meditation or spending time with loved ones are the best prescription!
So, this Valentine’s Day, be still your heart and may your theoretical heart skip a beat when you share the day with someone you love. As for literal heartbeats, let’s pay attention and give that big important organ some love.
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™