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Taking Care of your Heart Health

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When it comes to heart disease, many people often think that it is a disease that mostly affects males. However, women are just as much at risk of heart disease. It is the #1 cause of death for women in the united states, and only 45% of women are aware of this.

I was just a teenager when my father went out to walk the dog, and when he came home, he asked my mother to take him to the hospital. The next time that I saw my father, he was in a recovery room with tubes coming out of his chest as he was recovering from a bypass surgery. After his heart surgery, he has spent the rest of his life fighting to survive heart disease.

Heart disease wasn’t new to me because as a child growing up, I watched my grandma fighting for her life to survive the disease. She underwent many heart surgeries, had a pacemaker, and had to have a strong focus on her health to survive.

Now that I am getting older, and with a history of heart disease in my family, it is important to take care of my heart health. I want to live the longest life possible and be there to watch my children grow up. I have been exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and I go for regular check-ups so that my doctor can monitor me for heart disease.

I not only want to take care of my heart health but also make sure that other women are aware of the importance of caring for their heart. It is not only women who have a history of heart disease in their family that should monitor their heart, but all women.

Earlier this month, I talked with Dr. Anh Bui Smith at Kaiser Permanente about what women need to know about heart disease, and what we can all be doing to protect our heart so that we can live long and healthy lives.

While talking with Dr. Bui Smith about heart health, one of the biggest questions I had for her was what signs should women be looking for that might be the start of a heart attack? I was surprised to learn that it is not just chest pain or pressure. “A lot of times it is more subtle than that. It can be nausea, abdominal pain, feeling off or tired, light headed, dizzy, sweaty, and short of breath,” said Dr. Bui Smith.

She continued to share with me that it is important for patients to talk with their doctor about their individual risks, eat a healthy diet and exercise. Preventative care is key in caring for your heart. She recommended getting your blood pressure taken regularly at home as well as at the doctor’s office. “Women should start the conversation with the doctor as early as their 20’s,” said Dr. Bui Smith.

One of the great things that Kaiser Permanente offers their patients is a high tech electronic system. The system keeps track of patients who might have high blood pressure or be at risk, so nobody falls through the cracks and gets lost. Patients also get reminders!

The most important thing that women need to know about heart health is if they have had complications during their pregnancy like preeclampsia, gestational hypertension or gestational diabetes, these women have a higher risk of these diseases coming back later on in life.

If you think that you might be having the sign of a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately. “Don’t sit on it. The longer a patient waits, the less doctors can do to save them,” said Dr. Bui Smith.

I highly recommend all women talk to their doctors about their heart health. Don’t wait. Take care of your heart. Learn more about Kaiser Permanente online.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing! Awesome post!

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