Women’s heart health is an important part of overall wellness
Patients may wonder why our Austin obgyns would be concerned about their heart health, and we have one particularly important reason—heart disease is the number one killer of women. Our Austin obgyns treat issues and problems associated with women’s reproductive systems and we focus on pregnancy care. More importantly, we hope to partner with our patients to achieve overall wellness.
During your annual wellness examination, our Austin obgyns will discuss your blood pressure, your weight, your family health history and your cholesterol numbers with you. All of these fac-tors may contribute to your risk for heart disease. If we feel that you are at high-risk for heart disease or a heart attack, we can refer you to the proper specialist to help you with this im-portant women’s heart health issue.
As part of our efforts to inform patients about wellness, we would like to provide our patients with more information about heart disease.
What are the risk factors?
There are several factors that put you more at risk, and having more than one risk factor also increases your risk. These include:
- Age—women 55 and older are at higher risk
- Family history
- High blood pressure
- High total cholesterol numbers
- High LDL numbers
- Lack of regular cardio exercise
Will lifestyle changes improve my health?
Sometimes patients think that they are doomed to get heart disease due to genetic factors, but our Austin obgyns like to point out that there are lifestyle changes that any woman can make that will help reduce certain risk factors and improve women’s heart health.
Start your journey with these six steps to better health
- Stop smoking.
- Eat a healthful diet to lose weight if you are overweight or obese.
- Begin a cardiovascular exercise program, aiming for at least 30 minutes of exercise like walking, swimming, or biking on most days of the week.
- Monitor your glucose levels to determine if you have or are at risk for diabetes.
- Find effective ways to deal with stress, such as exercise, mindfulness practices or journaling.
- Learn about your blood pressure and cholesterol and talk with your doctor about getting these numbers under control if they are high.
How are women’s heart attack symptoms different from men’s?
We’ve all seen dramatic heart attacks acted out on television—someone clutches the chest and falls over; but it doesn’t always happen like that. Our Austin obgyns want women to understand that women often have unique heart attack symptoms. An important part of women’s heart health is understanding the heart attack symptoms you may experience.
While the most common symptom for both men and women is a feeling of pain or discomfort in the center of the chest, women are far more likely than men to be alerted to their heart attack by:
- Shortness of breath
- Vomiting and/or nausea
- Pain in the back, jaw or neck
Women sometimes may also experience: heartburn, appetite loss, weakness or tiredness, coughing, or even a fluttering sensation in the heart.
Other common symptoms that occur in both men and women include: shooting pain or even discomfort in one or both of your arms, your back, jaw, neck or even stomach area; feeling faint; or feeling clammy or in a cold sweat.
If you experience any of these symptoms and suspect you are having a heart attack, do not wait for the symptoms to pass—call 911 and seek medical attention.
It’s true that our Austin obgyns are most concerned about women’s reproductive health, but your overall health is also important to us as your doctors. Let’s work together to make women’s heart health a priority. Contact us for your wellness appointment today.