Each year, one in three women die from cardiovascular disease, making it the number one killer and greatest threat to a woman’s health. This number is far higher than women who die of breast cancer. February is designated as American Heart Month – a national movement to educate women about heart disease and stroke. Dr. Christina Reuss, cardiologist and independent member of HonorHealth’s Medical Staff, shares some ways women can reduce their risk of heart disease.
Talk to your doctor about your obstetrical history
Get screened for inflammatory conditions
Women with inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis, chronic inflammatory states (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc.) have a higher risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke.
Request to be screened earlier
Heart disease affects Hispanic women 10 years earlier than non-Hispanics, and only one in three are aware that heart disease is their number one killer. African-American women are two times more likely than Caucasian women to die earlier from stroke. More unsettling is that 49% of African-American women who are over 20 years of age have heart disease. Getting screened earlier can have life-changing effects.
Create an action plan
Work with your primary care provider to create an action plan. This can help to dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Keep in mind
Using birth control pills and smoking boosts a woman’s risk of heart disease by 20%. The American Heart Association recommends women to begin checking their cholesterol at the age of 20.