Women and Heart Disease - Introduction

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Today is February 1, and the start of Heart Health Month (or American Heart Month, or Heart Health Awareness Month or any of the other "heart health" names given to it).  Suffice to say, we'll be talking about heart health this month.  In this series of Love Your Heart articles, I'll specifically be writing about heart health in women in midlife.

The reason that heart health awareness is so important for women is that heart disease is the number one killer of women each year. Cardiovascular disease and stroke are responsible for 1 out of every 3 deaths in women - more than all cancers combined!

If you are a woman, you more than likely have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke - a whopping 90% of women have at least one risk factor.  Currently, 44 million American women are affected by cardiovascular disease.  What's more is that women may not recognize the signs of a heart attack, because often these signs and symptoms are different from those experienced by men, the ones we most frequently associate with a heart attack, such as chest pain.  Women may experience a "silent" heart attack, with few or minor symptoms.  And women are less likely to survive their first heart attack.

The good news is that we have the power to take control of our health.  A full 80% of heart disease and stroke events are preventable with lifestyle changes and education.  Beginning to make small changes now can lead to big improvements in your heart health - and could save your life.  

In this series, I'll go over the causes of cardiovascular disease and stroke, signs and symptoms of heart attacks in women, signs and symptoms of stroke, heart healthy nutrition, fitness tips, and lifestyle changes you can start now.  

For today, here is a great video from actress Elizabeth Banks and Go Red For Women called "Just A Little Heart Attack."  Banks survived a heart attack herself and now works to educate women on heart health.  

And be sure to visit the Go Red for Women website for more information and tips!