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Ladies, here’s how to keep your heart happy

Last Modified: 3/31/2020

Her Heart

We invited Mark O’Shaughnessy, MD, Parkview Heart Institute, to share some helpful information about women, their risk of heart attacks and how to form beneficial habits that can be passed down to your children.
Would you recognize a heart attack?

The classic symptoms of a heart attack in women include:

  • crushing chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • diaphoresis (sweating)
  • nausea
  • pain radiation

The less obvious signs of a heart attack in women include:

  • “heart burn”
  • dull ache in the chest
  • pain in the arms
  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • sweating
  • pain from the waist up
  • any recurring symptom

If you think you might be having a heart attack, call 911 and seek medical attention immediately! Do not drive yourself to the hospital. If these symptoms are intermittent, contact your primary care provider.

7 modifications to reduce your risk

Consider these lifestyle factors when working to control or reduce the threat of a heart attack:

  • Eat a healthy diet and practice moderation
  • Exercise a minimum of 20-30 minutes 5 days/week
  • Control diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia
  • Know your numbers
  • No tobacco!
  • Start in childhood
  • Understand and embrace the mind/body connection
How to set children up for success

More active children tend to become healthier adults, have lower rates of obesity and less hypertension and diabetes. Children with less active parents are most likely to be sedentary adults.

Time to get moving

The benefits of regular exercise include:

  • Improved strength and endurance
  • Good musculoskeletal health
  • Weight control
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved blood pressure and cholesterol

Here are some numbers to consider …

3500 calories = 1 pound of fat
You burn 100 calories/mile walking or running
If you walk 2 miles/day = 1 pound lost in 3 weeks
If you walk 2 miles/day = 17 pounds lost in a year
This equates to 4,000-6,000 steps/day

Assess your risk

If you're worried about your lifestyle or family history, consider using this Heart Risk Calculator provided by the Cleveland Clinic. Once you've gathered more knowledge you can begin your journey toward addressing your health. 


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