OK, ladies, let’s talk about our tickers. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women (claiming seven times as many lives as breast cancer!), and many women are completely unaware of their heart health or lack thereof. We know this information sounds grim, but there’s good news: you are in control with the power of prevention! We’re here to educate you lovely ladies on the factors that put women at risk for heart disease and some simple ways to protect your heart.
First, let’s address some of the risk factors. From skin conditions to how much sleep you’re getting and even your menstrual cycle, there are some things that put you at risk that you may not even know.
- Unexplained Fatigue: That sluggish feeling that has you reaching for a third cup of coffee is worth investigating and could be associated with a heart attack. According to one study, around 43% of women reported severe and unusual fatigue during their heart attack – a symptom that occurs more in women than men, though researchers aren’t sure why.
- Psoriasis: Those who suffer from this skin condition were found to be at higher risk of heart attack. Breaking down the numbers, people with moderate psoriasis were 22% more likely to experience a heart attack, and that number jumps to 45% for those who have severe psoriasis. Collaborate with your dermatologist ensure this skin condition is as controlled as possible.
- Irregular Menstrual Cycles: Yes, this is certainly frustrating for obvious reasons, but researchers also have found that women with irregular (a mix of long and short cycles) menses were 28% more likely to be at risk for heart disease. Dr. Brady can discuss your options for treatment if you’re experiencing an abnormal menstrual cycle.
- Too Much or Too Little Beauty Sleep: We know this can be a tough one to tackle, but aim for more than 5 hours and less than 9 hours of shuteye each night. Research has found that sleep sessions that are too short or too long cause changes in our bodies that put us at increased risk for heart disease.
- Indigestion & Anxiety: It may not just be a bad meal or the stress of daily life. In that same study mentioned above, nearly 95% of women reported experiencing indigestion and anxiety in the top five early warning signs of their heart attacks. If these symptoms persist longer than a week, it’s time to look into it.
So, what are some of the simple ways to help prevent heart disease? To name a few, loading up on the recommended daily amount of magnesium (around 265 milligrams for women) and incorporating more healthy fats (yes, fat can be your friend!) into your diet can have a powerful impact on heart health. For more recommendations on how to show your heart some love, visit some of our favorite sites such as goredforwomen.org and mayoclinic.org. As always, Dr. Brady is at your service to help you on your path to healthy!