Spring…..a time when love is in the air! What’s more perfect than strolling, hand in hand along a deserted beach? Suddenly, he turns to you, you turn to him and your heart begins to FLUTTER….you can’t catch your breath…….you feel light headed…as you gaze into each others eyes, you wonder….is this what love feels like??? No wait…..something’s wrong, you begin to feel nauseous and your body is covered in a cold sweat. Something is terribly, terribly wrong!
You my dear, are having symptoms of a heart attack! What do you do? Call 9-1-1 immediately.
Ok, so maybe for you young people, love can feel like this, but, for us middle-aged and older women, we need to know the causes and symptoms of heart trouble. Heart disease is the NUMBER ONE KILLER of women in the United States.
Other symptoms of a heart attack can be tightness in your chest or back, pain going down your left arm, pain in the left side of your neck or jaw, overall fatigue not due to sleeping problems or depression. light-headedness or dizzy, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath as if you can’t take a full breath, are also symptoms. Nausea, vomiting, indigestion and other GI upsets are atypical signs of a heart attack.
How can you keep a heart attack or stroke at bay? First thing if you are 20 or more pounds over weight and don’t exercise on a regular basis, it’s time to change your life style! If you smoke, STOP! Did you know that just one year after you quit, you’ll cut your risk of heart disease by 50%?? Also, just a moderate weight-loss can help.
You also need to know your cholesterol numbers. Cholesterol is the fatty plaque that lines your blood vessels and arteries. If a piece of that fatty plaque breaks off, it can cause a blockage. Depending on where the blockage occurs, you can have a heart attack or stroke. The “bad” cholesterol LDL needs to be 200 or lower. Your “good” cholesterol or HDL needs to be 40 or greater. High cholesterol can be hereditary. In that case you will have to talk to your doctor because a change of lifestyle alone won’t help. You might need medications.
So? What’s this lifestyle change? It’s the same ol’ song and dance. Eat right, exercise, and stop smoking. Start exercising 30 minutes a day. This doesn’t have to be done all at once. Ten minutes here, ten there, and ten more. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator or park at the far end of the parking lot for starters. Turn the music on and dance, swim, play tennis, but, if you’re not use to exercising, walking at a fast pace is really the best way to get started.
As for eating, stay away from any saturated fats, trans fats, cut down on salt and red, fatty meat. Opt to eat fruits and vegetables without high-calorie sauces or added salt and sugars. Choose fiber-rich WHOLE grains, make sure to read the labels! You can have poultry and fish without skin and prepare them in healthy ways….not fried! Salmon, trout, and herring are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, which is very heart healthy. Select skim or 1% dairy products. Cut back on beverages with added sugars. Most importantly, follow portion sizes. You need to burn more calories than you eat.
Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. If you get the green light to exercise get out there and MOVE!! You’re heart will thank you and so will your family!!
If you need some support or help in changing your life style, email me and I can help.
Healthy eating everyone!