February is the month of love. Each year around this time many hearts are all a flutter with feelings of adoration and glee. However, there is another reason fluttering hearts and the color red is so popular during the second month of the year. February is also American heart month.
The goal of the medical community during the month of February is to protect women’s hearts beyond Valentine’s Day by providing pertinent information on heart health. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, nearly 1 in 3 American women have high blood pressure. Heart disease has become the number one killer in women. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that heart disease was responsible for 24% of American women’s deaths in 2009. Even with heart disease killing more women than all of the cancers combined, many women are still under informed on how to watch for signs and prevent falling victim to the disease. Like men, heavy chest pressure, shortness of breath, cold sweats, fatigue, dizziness or sharp upper body pain are common symptoms that are associated with heart attacks (CDC). Women however are twice as likely to experience nausea or vomiting as well as pain in the neck, back or jaw (CDC).
Physical activity (exercise) has many benefits of reducing the risks associated with heart disease. Most women who suffer from heart disease also suffer from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or even obesity according to the CDC. Regular exercise not only strengthens the heart but it also improves circulation, increases energy levels, lowers blood pressure, improves muscle tone and strength, reduces stress and helps to reduce body fat. Just simply choosing activities that are easy to enjoy can help keep up the consistency of exercising and potentially help reduce the chances of falling victim to heart disease. There is no miracle cure for heart disease but taking steps to lower the risks associated with the disease gives a fighting chance to those who want to love a little longer.
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