women and heart healthHeart disease kills more women than breast cancer does, but women seem more frightened about their breast cancer odds. One of the commonly shared myths about heart attacks, heart disease, strokes and other heart health problems is that it’s not as widespread among women as it is men.

It’s a myth that women don’t have the same (if not more) risks than a man does when it comes to the heart. It’s also a myth that a heart attack can’t happen to a woman at any age.

Although you can have a heart attack or heart disease without any signs or abnormal lab tests, what you need to know is that as a woman, there are certain risk factors that can target your heart. These factors can cause you to end up with heart disease or damage to your heart from a heart attack.

Maintaining a normal blood pressure is as important for a woman’s heart as it for a man’s heart. High blood pressure is a sign that your heart is working too hard.

Watching your cholesterol level helps protect your heart. Being proactive, if you don’t have good cholesterol lab results, can help you keep your heart healthier. It’s as important to have good HDL levels as it is to have low LDL levels.

Get your triglycerides tested. This reading can be a warning sign that all is not well for your heart. The higher these are, the higher your change of developing heart problems.

You should also know what else puts you at risk for poor heart health. Not keeping your weight at a healthy level increases your chances of heart related problems. For a woman, any extra weight around the mid-section is dangerous for the heart. Failing to exercise regularly and living a high stress lifestyle with little time to relax can adversely affect the heart.

A lack of rest or prolonged periods of insomnia puts stress on the heart. One of the signs that your heart may not be at optimal health is if you feel fatigued a lot. Fatigue can be a warning sign that your heart isn’t working well and it can be a warning sign of a looming heart attack. If you suffer any unexplained fatigue, then you should be checked out by a doctor.

Women don’t always get the same heart attack warning signs that men get. For a woman, pressure in the chest doesn’t always occur when a heart attack is happening. Feeling sick to your stomach or having pain between your shoulder blades can be a sign of a heart attack for a woman.

How can you protect your heart? If you’re currently a smoker, then take steps to quit. Smoking puts a lot of stress on your heart and can cause heart disease. Lose weight if you’re overweight and exercise regularly. Avoid things that can cause your blood pressure to elevate, like eating a diet high in salt and avoid drinking too much alcohol.