Enjoy Your Menopause!

January 24, 2009

What is Your Heart Telling You?

Ever since being diagnosed with congestive heart failure, I’ve made it my business to read all I can and to follow the instructions given by my Cardiologist. 

Heart disease is the nation’s number one killer for women. The well-known heart attack symptoms – acute pain, tightness, burning and a dull ache in the chest – describe what men typically experience during an attack. For many women the signs of a heart attack are completely different and can go unrecognized

Nausea, shoulder pain and exhaustion can be the only signs a woman experiences during an attack. Heart disease tends to come later in women than in men, on average 10 years after menopause. Women are more likely to die from their heart attacks.

Most people know to get to an emergency room immediately when they’ve identified that they’re having a heart attack. However, research shows that women go to the hospital on average one full hour later than men do after experiencing an attack. Most benefits of medical treatment occur in the first six hours after an attack, so delayed medical treatment reduces chances of full recovery. This could be due to a lack of education about onset and symptoms.

Doctors say clot-buster drugs may be immediately given to break up the clot and allow blood to get through to the heart. If necessary a balloon or a stent can be placed in the clogged artery to open the artery and strengthen the artery wall. Sometimes surgery and other procedures are required, depending on the situation.

You’ve heard the old saying:  “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Prevention is the best medicine.  That means doing your part to keep your heart healthy and strong. 

1)  Maintain low cholesterol levels.

2)  Exercise.

3)  Quit smoking.

4)  If you have diabetes, keep it under control.

5)  Monitor your blood pressure, and keep it in check.

6)  Know your family medical history. If there’s a history of heart disease, start earlier and be even more diligent about prevention.