By J. Douglas Overbeck, M.D.
There is only a 1 out of 30 risk of dying of breast cancer, yet it’s well-known that women over the age of 40 need an annual mammogram. A less-known fact is that 1 out of 3 women will die from some form of cardiovascular disease. Getting your mammogram is important, but screening for cardiovascular risk is even more so. February is Heart Health month, so do something sweet for your heart by finding out your risk for cardiovascular disease.
The signs of coronary disease are often different in women than in men. For example, while most men present with the classic symptoms of heart attacks that include chest pain that spreads to the arms, women have a tendency to have difficulty breathing, nausea, abdominal pain or extreme fatigue. These less obvious symptoms can delay proper treatment, increasing the mortality.
We need to focus much more aggressively on reducing cardiovascular risk in women through healthy lifestyle choices and early detection. Please remember that it’s important to practice healthy habits to prevent the onset of coronary disease, such as:
- Take the first step to get physically active, as simple as a 30 minute walk daily.
- Eat meals that are low in fat, with a focus on fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid smoking.
- See your doctor for regular check-ups.
- Take the ASCVD cardiovascular risk estimator. It will give you an idea of your baseline risk. It also forces you to “know your numbers.”
At Tuscan Cardiovascular Center, we have the tools to help you maintain good cardiovascular health. Treat yourself this month by taking the time to learn about your cardiovascular risk and start a new habit that is sweet for your heart.