Heart disease is the #1 cause of death for women in the United States, but it’s still a misconception that it’s a “man thing.” Women are eight times more likely to die from heart disease, but fear more from breast cancer. Women need to understand their risk factors.

Read the facts about these common misconceptions about women’s heart health.

Believing that you will “know” when you need to check your blood pressure
Being in tune with your body is great, but this approach alone has its limits. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are silent conditions. Symptoms like dizziness are not a symptom of these problems: A test can tell you if you are at risk.

How to proceed: Have your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels checked regularly by your doctor. They can determine your future risk of heart disease.

Installing an exercise bike at home
Having a bike or treadmill is great in itself. But it is difficult to use it regularly. If your new workout routine isn’t fun, natural, or convenient, it’s all too easy to falter after the first push.

How to keep going: Choose a fun activity that you want to do more often, like a sport you enjoy, a dance class, or running with a friend.

Smoking to lose weight
While maintaining a healthy weight is good for your heart, smoking and the risks associated with smoking can negate any benefits of weight loss. Smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease. New data on e-cigarettes show links to chronic lung disease and asthma, and if you’re a current smoker, it can increase your risk of heart disease.

How to proceed: Control your weight through diet and exercise, and don’t rely on cigarettes like e-cigarettes, which contain addictive nicotine.

You don’t know the warning signs of a heart attack
Heart attacks can be different in women than in men. Not everyone experiences the classic symptoms of chest pain and pressure: There are other danger signs that women should be aware of.

How to proceed: If you experience nausea, abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, or any other unusual symptoms, it is important to consult your doctor.

Avoiding hormone replacement therapy during menopause is bad for the heart
It is possible to avoid pain due to high fever and insomnia. Hormone replacement therapy is no longer believed to protect the heart during menopause, but that doesn’t mean it should be avoided. Talk to your doctor about your personal risks and whether it’s safe to use hormones for menopause symptoms.

How to proceed: If you and your doctor agree that hormone therapy is a good idea for menopause symptoms, you can take the lowest dose possible for the shortest period of time.

Thinking that some pregnancy health problems end with childbirth

Having gestational hypertension, such as gestational diabetes, gestational diabetes, or gestational hypertension or preeclampsia, increases the risk of heart disease later in life.

How to proceed: Always give your new doctor a complete medical history so he has the information he needs to consider your individual needs.

Arteries (ARE-te-rease): Blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood away from your heart to all parts of your body. Arteries look like thin tubes or pipes. The wall is made of a tough outer layer, a muscular middle layer, and a smooth inner wall that facilitates blood flow. The muscle layer expands and contracts, helping the movement of blood.

Cardiovascular disease (car-dee-oh-VAS-cue-ler): Heart and blood vessel problems, often caused by atherosclerosis, or fatty deposits in the walls of arteries, and high blood pressure. arteries, stimulates atherosclerosis and hardens the arteries. Heart valve disease, heart failure, and abnormal heart rhythms (also known as arrhythmias) are types of cardiovascular disease.

Risk factor: Anything that increases your chance of developing the disease. For example, smoking is a risk factor for cancer and obesity is a risk factor for diabetes.

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