Heart of the Matter

Post by Rose Langley R.D., L.D.N. Rose is a Coordinator for Rex Heart & Vascular Services, Rex Out-Patient Diabetes Education Program and Rex Early Detection Center.

Women are caregivers. We so often take care of all of the family but not ourselves. We take care of the children, our spouses, the dog, the cat, our parents, the house, our jobs and we find time for our friends. However, when it comes right down to it, there is never time for us to do the things that are so important. Things like exercise and maybe even that yearly trip to the doctor. We are just so wrapped up in running around doing for others that we ignore how we feel until we are so run down that it takes a major illness to stop us sometimes. If you are going to be a caregiver you have to take care of number one, and that is you. There is no substitute to good health, and when it’s gone sometimes it is too late.

Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in American woman and it affects more women than men. The signs of coronary artery disease which can lead to a heart attack are more subtle in women than in men typically. We do not know the reason why but some women have atypical chest pain. I have had many women to describe their symptoms as being fatigued, short of breath and having flu like symptoms. Some have described having lower back pain.

Heart Disease is preventable. Know your numbers. Know your blood pressure. Is your waist less than 35 inches? Is your weight in proportion to your height? Know your risk factors. Do you Smoke? Do you have high Blood Pressure? Are you overweight? Are you Physically Active? Do you have Diabetes?

Find out your risk and take action: Eat for health. Follow the DASH eating plan (Dietary Approaches for Slashing Hypertension). Make changes in your high blood cholesterol and lifestyle changes and see a Registered Dietitian. Join the Rex Wellness Center and learn new moves! Aim for a healthy weight, by learning portion distortion. Kick the smoking habit.

Most of all, ask your doctor if you think you may be at risk for Heart Disease! Take charge. This is your life.

If you think you are at risk, take the free online heart risk assessment HeartAware at uncrexheartaware.com. If you are at risk you will be invited in for a complimentary screening.