But these heart diseases are the number 1 & 3 killers in women.
Almost 1/2 million women will die of these complications each year.
Chances are that someone in your family will be affected at some point.
Although they can be controlled and prevented in many instances, they can be debilitating if not detected early and treated.
First, you need to become aware of the risk factors.
Some you can change and some you can't.
Talk to your doctor about your risks, what you can do to prevent them and what medications may be appropriate for you and your situation.
Here are some things to consider when assessing your increased risk for heart attack or stroke: 1.
Age and Gender - women over 50 years old are more at risk.
Family History - if someone in your family has had a heart attack or stroke.
Heart Attack or Stroke Medical History - if you have any heart conditions, disease of the leg arteries or high red blood cell count.
Blood Pressure - high blood pressure will contribute and increase risk factors.
Drinking or Tobacco - both of these are known factors.
Cholesterol - this in combination may cause symptoms, as well as any medications you may be taking for it.
Physical Activity - you should be trying to get at least 30 minutes of activity daily.
Overweight - if you are more than 20 pounds overweight, you may be increasing your risk.
Diabetes - if you have diabetes and/or are taking medications, you doctor needs to know so he/she can assess what steps are needed.
Heart Attack and Stroke - Women's Risk Profile Things that you cannot control: 1.
Heredity and Race 4.
Previous Heart Attack or Stroke Things that you CAN control: 1.
Tobacco and alcohol consumption - when you stop smoking, your risk begins to decrease and can become as low as a non-smoker's risk.
Physical activity - walking, bicycling or any moderate exercise.
High blood pressure - you may or may not experience and symptoms.
High cholesterol - start by exercising, eating less saturated fats and losing weight.
Obesity or overweight - defined as a BMI of 30 or over for being obese and 25-29.
9 for being overweight.
Diabetes - middle-aged women 45-64 with diabetes have a 3-7 time higher rate of coronary heart disease.
Tomorrow I will cover some additional risk factors for heart attacks and strokes, what to do if you have one and next steps.