Heart Disease is More of a Risk Than You Think

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S., accounting for about one in every five female deaths. And, because some symptoms in women can differ from those in men, women often don’t know what to look for.

Chrissy Fleming, Manager of Cardiac Rehab and Wellness, and Amy Levine, Site Coordinator/Exercise Specialist, of Roper St. Francis Healthcare have a combined 30+ years of experience getting cardiac patients back on a path to wellness. In a recent Thrive session, they discussed the importance of awareness when it comes to prevention of heart disease in women. They also went over how they assess cardiac health and how you can strengthen your heart and reduce stress. In addition, they told participants tips on how to incorporate stress management techniques and simple behavior changes to benefit your heart health.

By learning your unique symptoms, you can begin to reduce your risks. As heart disease is becoming more prevalent in women, and women are experiencing more emotional stress from the effects of COVID-19, it is increasingly important to prioritize your health and wellness.

Here are the facts:

  • Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in women
  • More women die each year of CHD
  • 1 in 3 CHD deaths per year will occur in women
  • Death rate due to CHD in women (35-74 yo) is 74% higher in black women compared with white women
  • Women experience more adverse outcomes when diagnosed with CHD
  • Twice as likely as men to die within the first-year MI
  • Nearly 63% of women who die suddenly from CHD have had no previous symptoms

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) Risk Factors:

  • Abnormal blood lipids and lipoproteins (Cholesterol)
  • High Blood Pressure/ Hypertension
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Overweight/obese
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Gender
  • Heredity/Family History
  • Age
  • Alcohol
  • Stress

I think that the one bullet that we can all agree that we have to deal with at some point is stress. Unfortunately, it is a fact of life and everyone is always looking for ways to manage stress.

Did you know that stress can shrink your brain, age your heart, weaken your bones, make you sick, increase belly fat, aggravate your gut and suppress your sleep? Yuck – I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any of that.

Here are some tools to manage stress:

  • If you can’t change it, don’t worry about it
  • Focus on solutions, not problems
  • Redirect negative thoughts
  • Eat “happy” foods (seafood, turkey, whole grains, beans, rice, hummus, dark chocolate, eggs, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, dairy products, nuts and lentils)
  • Take a deep breath, meditate and journal
  • Surround yourself with upbeat, positive people
  • Move to mellow your mind
  • Laugh, play and have fun!

I really enjoyed this informative session, and admittedly, I didn’t know a lot about women’s heart health. I encourage you to take in this great information and use them as tools to increase your chances of living a long and healthy life.

To view the full recording of the virtual event, visit https://vimeo.com/529018384


Thank you to our Thrive Sponsors:

Session Presented by: BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina

Series Presented by: Wells Fargo

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