February is filled with all things heart-shaped -- from Valentine’s Day cards to candies -- but this month, we’re highlighting hearts in a different way. We sat down with Dr. Zafarani of Women’s Care to take a closer look at the facts surrounding heart disease and what you can do to stay healthy.
What Is Heart Disease?
While many people correlate heart attacks with heart disease, there are a wide variety of heart complications that fall under this category. Even though blockages in the arteries are one of the most common issues, heart disease also covers problems that arise in the heart valves, the electric system, the myocardium (heart muscle), and the pericardium (lining of the heart).
In short, if you have a heart, you could be affected by heart disease. Even young, healthy women are at risk, although they are more likely to experience congenital heart abnormalities (like mitral valve prolapse) or genetic problems than a heart attack.
“Women should take the time to learn more about heart disease because it is the number one cause of mortality in women,” Dr. Zafarani explains. “It affects one in four women, even though ⅔ of women do not report having any symptoms.”
How To Lower Your Risk
Heart disease is preventable, so it is important to know what steps you can take to keep yourself healthy.
“Some of the major risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking,” Dr. Zafarani says.
While family history, medical history, and age also play a role, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can seriously decrease your likelihood of being affected by heart disease.
“You can modify your lifestyle to lower your risks. For example, you can add a healthier diet or start exercising if that is not already a part of your routine,” Dr. Zafarani suggests. “If you smoke, it is also really important that you quit.”
In addition to modifying your lifestyle, you can make it a point to see your healthcare provider for regular cholesterol and blood pressure screenings.
“Heart disease is almost always preventable with screening and intervention,” Dr. Zafarani says.
Since the symptoms of heart disease are not always easy to identify, it is really crucial to schedule annual wellness checks with your healthcare provider.
“If there are other risk factors you are concerned about, you can also talk to your healthcare provider during your appointment. We are here to help you live a healthier life!” Dr. Zafarani says.
Schedule An Appointment
If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our providers at Women’s Care to talk about this or any other health related topic, you can call us at 920-729-7105 or click here.