Picture someone experiencing a heart attack.  You most likely envisioned a man with crushing chest pain, sweating, nausea, and pain that travels to the neck or left arm.  But what if it was a woman? Would the picture in your head change?

Typically, women experience the symptoms of a heart attack differently than men.  Women are more likely to complain of significant fatigue, shortness of breath, indigestion, and flu-like symptoms. Women are less likely to experience true “heart attack symptoms”, making them less likely to be treated properly by healthcare professionals.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in US women, affecting 1 in 3 women. Early detection is the key to keeping your heart healthy and minimizing the risk of deadly heart disease later in life.

Preventing heart disease is one of the main goals of most physicians. In order to prevent heart disease, we aim to control your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.  We also recommend that you take on more physical activity.

The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity over the course of a week.  We know that sounds scary, but that actually only amounts to 2 hours and 30 minutes total. Break it up however you want – even as little as 10-15 minutes at a time is beneficial!

So, what exactly counts as moderate-intensity aerobic activity? The most common examples are walking at a brisk pace, dancing, riding a bicycle, playing doubles tennis, and pushing a lawn mower.  Unfortunately, using a riding mower doesn’t count. You can even build an activity plan to do jumping jacks during the commercials of your favorite TV show! Any exercise is good exercise.

How do you know if you’re walking quickly enough? There are a few simple, low-tech ways to know. If your heart rate is higher than normal, you’ve broken a sweat, and you can’t sing the words to a song, then you’ve done it.  Combining exercise with a healthy diet is a great way to improve your heart health!

If you are considering starting a new exercise program, please consult your primary doctor to ensure that you are choosing the program that’s right for you.