National Women’s Health Week: Women and Heart Health

National Women’s Health Week is May 8-14. This week-long health observance is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH). The week serves as a reminder for women and girls to make their health a priority. 

When it comes to heart health, cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year. (Go Red for Women) But because people associate heart disease with men, many women do not realize that they are at risk. 

Know the Heart Attack Symptoms for Women

When most people imagine someone having a heart attack, they imagine them in severe pain, grabbing their chest and passing out on the floor. While men and women both have chest discomfort, women are more likely to have other symptoms like back pain, jaw pain, shortness of breath and vomiting. (FDA) Because those symptoms can be attributed to any number of things, many women do not realize they are having a heart attack until it’s too late. If you or someone you know is showing signs of a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet

From keto and pescetarianism to paleo and gluten-free, there are a wide variety of diets marketed to women nearly every second of every day. Fortunately, to eat a heart-healthy diet all you have to do is be conscious of the nutrition facts on your food labels. The FDA recommends choosing foods that are low in sodium, limiting foods that have trans fat and cutting back on sugar, which is often labeled as glucose, fructose or sucrose.

Get Annual Checkups 

The main goal of National Women’s Health Week is for women to make their health their priority. Part of prioritizing your health is scheduling annual checkups to assess heart-health risks. Most checkups include tests for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. These numbers will help you to know how at-risk you are for developing heart disease and how soon you should take action.

Join the Go Red for Women Movement

Go Red for Women is a global community of women united against heart disease. Their team has hundreds of free resources that women can use to take their heart health into their own hands. We recommend browsing their website to learn more about the community and how you can utilize their resources to your advantage.