February is Heart Month. The month to bring some awareness to Heart Health.
This is not just a male issue.
Did you know that Heart Disease and Stroke is the #1 cause of premature death in women in Canada? Surprising, I know. One would have thought it was Breast Cancer. Heart health in women just isn’t discussed as much but it should be. 58% of all women who experience heart attack symptoms, go unrecognized. Knowledge is power and women need to take care of our hearts too!
So what are the risk factors, symptoms (because they can be very different and unique to what a man will experience) and what can we do to keep out hearts healthy…
Symptoms for women can be very different then those for men. Women tend to experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue.
NOTE: FACTS HAVE BEEN TAKEN FROM https://www.heartandstroke.ca/women
The use of the birth control pill over the age of 35 can increase your risk of high blood pressure and blood clots. Which in turn can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Estrogen provides a protective effect on a women’s heart health, so once we move closer to menopause, we know that our estrogen levels decrease.
During menopause, women have tendency to have a higher blood pressure. We get an increase of central body fat which can increase the risk of blood clots and blood sugar issues (diabetes) and sleep becomes an issue which can affect our heart health
Women taking HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy).
Cholesterol levels can increase. Our natural estrogen balances our cholesterol levels. In menopause, estrogen decreases and then causes our cholesterol to increase.
Of course there are a few more risk factors like smoking, inactive lifestyle, poor eating habits. Everyone is unique so what may be a risk factor for your neighbour, might not be yours. But it is good to know all the factors so that you can make the appropriate changes in your life. Although as I researched the risk factors, two words kept coming up….Estrogen and Menopause. These are 2 factors that do affect all women.
So what can we do to prevent or lessen our risk of Heart Attack and Stroke? Well among the obvious of not smoking, getting active (sitting is the new smoking), maintain a healthy weight by eating clean or maybe look into an anti-inflammatory diet. We can add some supplementation and focus on keeping our liver healthy to help with our estrogen levels.
The liver is the ‘powerhouse’ of our bodies and everything gets filtered through it, so keeping our liver strong is imperative to all functions of our bodies. (I may have said this before in a previous blog post. I do say it alot!!). Eating clean, increase water and fiber intake, and increase liver friendly foods like artichoke, beets, carrots, brussel sprouts, apples, lemons and eggs, just to name a few. Another food or supplement to include in your daily routine is tumeric. Tumeric is usually found as a spice or powder but is actually a root like ginger and can be minced or shredded into food. It is beneficial to heart health, is anti inflammatory, helps with liver detoxification so therefore will support hormone health (estrogen levels) and cholesterol levels. You can also buy it in capsule form or have yourself a cup of Tumeric Golden Mylk everyday..So yummy
If you are looking for some supplementation as an added extra, I would suggest:
- a good multi vitamin
- Vitamin B complex
- Healthy oils (fish, flax, coconut, olive oil)
- Lemon water in the morning. (Our liver accumulates toxins in our bile overnight and the lemon juice will stimulate the gall bladder allowing the bile to flow into your intestines and be excreted though our digestive systems)
I could go into ALOT more detail on diet, supplements. And of course do not forget to remain active!!
If you are concerned in any way that you are at high risk, please see your doctor or natural health care practitioner to guide you in the right direct and lessen your risk factors for heart attack and stroke.
Heart Attack and Stroke is silent and premature killer in women for a reason. We need to not keep this silent anymore. It is all about our heart…health!!
For further reading on our health – Breast Health Awareness