Your Family Needs Your Whole Heart
Motherhood is stressful. You don’t get enough sleep. You eat what you can, when you can. Exercise? Not so much. And many women have to return to work soon after delivery, increasing their stress levels.
These factors, and many others, underscore the necessity for preventive care prior, during and after pregnancy. Women who are overweight or who smoke are already at increased risk for heart disease, and pregnancy itself takes a tremendous toll on the heart. If you are pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant, it might be a good idea to take a few simple measures that will clarify your real risk for complications stemming from heart disease.
It’s also important for women with older children to understand their risk factors and how having children can affect your lifetime risk of disease. Age, depression, poor diet and a lack of exercise are common for both new mothers and for those with older kids — and all raise your risk of heart disease.
Raising Heart-Healthy Kids
You know where they’re going and who they’re hanging out with. You make sure they do their homework. You do everything you can to keep your kids safe. But today, many teenagers are making decisions that will impact their health far into the future.
More and more young people are developing coronary artery disease, related primarily to their weight. In a study of obese teens, three-quarters had already developed high blood sugar and high C-reactive protein and half had both high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Of those under 19, nearly one in five are considered obese. It may take 30 or 40 years before a heart attack strikes, but the younger this process begin, the more severe the risk.
These alarming trends highlight the need for preventive care. As many as 50% of those who die from heart disease have no previous symptoms, and the classic risk factors may not explain as much as 50% of all heart attacks and stroke. Yet 80% of all heart disease is both preventable and reversible. When good practices become good habits at an early age, the lifetime risk of heart disease drops dramatically.
Caring for Your Family Means Caring for Yourself
Your family depends on you. Even after your kids leave home, they will still need you in their lives. Taking care of yourself is one of the best ways to take care of them. Your family needs your whole heart.
Traditionally, cardiovascular dysfunction has been thought of as a “man’s disease.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women. It kills more women than all forms of cancer combined. Two-thirds of women who die from heart disease have no previous symptoms.
Too often, when a woman presents symptoms of heart disease, they are misunderstood or misdiagnosed. And the symptoms of heart disease are different for men than they are for women.
Understanding your risk for heart disease is a critical part of the process. The only way to get an accurate picture of underlying heart disease is through testing. At the Texas Center for Preventive Cardiology, we offer non-invasive endothelial testing in Austin which, alongside metabolic and lipid testing, can provide us with a much clearer picture of the progression of any disease.
Did you know…
- If you smoke and take birth control pills, your risk of heart disease increases by 20%.
- The symptoms of a heart attack are different for women. They are more likely to experience: indigestion or gas-like pain, dizziness or nausea, unexplained weakness, pain between the shoulder blades, recurring chest discomfort and a sense of impending doom.
- Only 1 in 5 women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat, yet an estimated 43 million women are affected by heart disease.
- Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
- Women who give birth to four or more children are more likely to present early indicators of heart disease than women with fewer children.
- A large study of almost 140,000 women found that the longer women breast-fed the more they lowered their risk of heart disease.