Movement Is Life Journey

heart disease

A. Continue my same habits and hope my heart stays healthy

Nearly 60% more women die of heart disease and stroke than from all cancers combined. The older you get, the more likely you are to get heart disease, but women of all ages should be concerned. And all women can take the steps needed today to prevent heart disease and stroke in the future.

Let's learn more about Heart Disease.

Show up in women with very different warning signs and symptoms. Women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as:

woman with jaw pain
  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back, or abdominal discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in one or both arms
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual fatigue

Sometimes not occur in isolation. It is significantly influenced by the activity levels, nutrition, weight, work and family conditions, and access to quality healthcare..

Result in disability and death. Not only is your quality of life impaired, but heart disease kills. By making serious lifestyle changes early, you can have a significant influence over the health of your heart.

Learn the meaning of the most critical numbers linked to heart health. These include:

  • Your blood pressure
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
women exercising

Start a walking program. If you haven't been active recently, you may want to begin with the following.

Week Walk for:
1 5 minutes per day
2 7 minutes per day
3 9 minutes per day
4 11 minutes per day
5 13 minutes per day
6 15 minutes per day
7 20 minutes per day
8 23 minutes per day
9 26 minutes per day
10 28 minutes per day
11 30 minutes per day

Manage your risk factors. Control and treat some risk factors with lifestyle changes:

  • Move more and boost your activity levels
  • If you smoke, stop
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Make sure you have a doctor who really listens to you. Often women's symptoms are different from symptoms that are often seen with heart disease in men. Therefore, it's important that you have a doctor who understands these differences and is committed to your health. Remember that heart disease is preventable.

Heart disease and stroke together are the number one killer among women. They occur two times higher among African-American women than among Caucasian women. Major risk factors for heart disease that are more prevalent, or seen more often in AA women, include…

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity

But for many African-American women, particularly those who consider themselves perfectly healthy, not paying attention to these risk factors may lead to unwanted and unexpected outcomes. It is also a fact that women's symptoms of heart disease don't always match those of men and oftentimes aren't taken as seriously.

According to a 2016 article by the American Heart Association, "High Blood Pressure and African Americans," there may be a gene that makes African Americans much more sensitive to the effects of salt. This, in turn increases their risk for developing high blood pressure. In people who have this gene, as little as one extra gram (half a teaspoon) of salt could raise blood pressure readings by as much as five millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

Try cutting back on the amount of salt in your diet. Make a serious effort to improve your overall eating habits by learning about heart-healthy foods, and how to prepare them. Take control of your healthcare and make sure that your healthcare provider listens to you and your symptoms. And of course, if you're not already active, get moving.

Did You Know?

That 50,000 African-American women die of heart diseases each year.

Reducing Sodium, from menu to mouth
mother and daughter

You may tend to think of your heart problems as "my problem" and not complain of symptoms or share them with your family. This makes it more difficult to get the help and treatment you need.

Make it a priority to know the symptoms of heart disease and how you can prevent it. Also review your health risks.

  • Are you obese or overweight?
  • Do you smoke?
  • What is your activity level—do you sit all day or do you walk and exercise?
  • Do you take time to care for yourself?

Learn your risks and take time and steps to decrease them.

You may tend to take on the role of caregiver and superwoman, catering to the needs of everyone but yourself. You're a loving mother and caregiver, so it may be time for you to start thinking about what's best for you and your condition, which will also be good for the health and well-being of your family and loved ones.

You're on your way to solving the puzzle and breaking the cycle. Now you know the importance of movement in avoiding Heart Disease. If you would like to go back and follow choice B, please click here. If you would like to move forward, let's take a look at the final piece of the puzzle by clicking on Movement

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