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Heart Disease: What Women Should Know

Heart Disease: What Women Should Know

Do you think heart disease is a man’s disease?  That is easy to understand, as we often hear of heart attacks striking men in the prime of their life.  But heart disease is a serious health issue for women as well.

  • Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the U.S. More than twice as many women die of heart disease and stroke than all forms of cancer combined – even breast!
  • Women are more likely to die after their first heart attack then men.
  • Heart disease is more likely to go undetected in women than in men.

woman and man hands with heartA woman’s risk of heart disease begins to rise in her 40s with menopause bringing the biggest increase in risk. By age 65, a woman’s risk of heart disease is equal to that of a man’s.

So what are the risk factors for women?

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Diabetes

Fortunately, there are many steps you can take at any age to improve your heart health and lower your risk of heart disease.  To start with, you need to know if you are at risk.  Silver Cross offers a Baseline Cardiac Risk Assessment available at the Hospital and also in the Silver Cross Health Center in Homer Glen. The $40 screening includes:

  • History and lifestyle evaluation
  • 12-lead EKG
  • Measurements of
    • Total cholesterol including HDL and LDL level
    • Blood glucose level
    • Triglyceride level
    • Blood pressure
    • Body fat
  • Personal phone consultation with a registered cardiac nurse to review results and answer questions

And to reward you for taking are of yourself, after your heart screening, you will receive discounts at over 100 local businesses through Silver Cross Hospital’s free I Matter program. So make sure you sign-up today.

To schedule an appointment for a Baseline Cardiac Risk Assessment, call (815) 300-7076.

In addition to finding out where you stand, there are other steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease such as:

  • Stop smoking; especially if you take birth control pills
  • Eat a healthy diet low in saturated fats and high in fiber, fruits and vegetables
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Get regular exercise – at least 20 minutes a day, three times a week or more
  • If you’re blood pressure and cholesterol are high, work with your physician to lower them
  • If you have diabetes, get regular medical care and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. The Silver Cross Diabetes Center can help you with this.

If you feel you are at high risk, talk to your doctor. If you don’t have a regular physician, find one online through our free Physician Referral Service or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).


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