Heart Attacks, How to Prevent and Identify

Q: What’s the leading cause of heart disease in women?

A: The most common cause of heart disease is a buildup of fatty plaque in your arteries. The buildup of this plaque thickens the walls of your arteries, which slows the blood flow to your organs and tissues. It can also create serious damage to your heart and blood vessels.


Q: What measures can women take to maintain a healthy heart?

071819e0cc1358a956d0a5da4e2bd8ae.jpgA: Plaque buildup is usually caused by lifestyle choices. This includes eating an unhealthy diet, being overweight, and smoking. In order to maintain a healthy heart, it’s important to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly and quit smoking.


Q: What are the warning signs of a heart attack in women?

A: Chest pain or discomfort is the most common signs of a heart attack for both men and women. It is common for women to experience different warning signs than men. These symptoms include pain in their back or jaw, shortness of breath, and nausea or vomiting.


Q: What should women do if they believe they’re experiencing a heart attack?

A: If you believe you’re experiencing a heart attack, the first thing you should do is call 911. Make sure you place this call within 5 minutes of experiencing the warning signs. While waiting for paramedics to arrive, chew and swallow a baby aspirin. It is also extremely important that you stay calm so remember to sit or lie down.


Q: After having a heart attack, how can women adjust their lifestyles to prevent another heart attack?

A: Once you’ve had a heart attack, your risk for another one is higher so it’s important to speak to your doctor about what you can do to prevent another heart attack because each case is different. The first recommendation most doctors make include lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, and quitting smoking. If you are prescribed medications to control chest pain or discomfort, high blood cholesterol, or high blood pressure be sure to take those as prescribed.

Some people also get anxious or depressed after having a heart attack. They often worry about having another one and become depressed when they have a difficult time making lifestyle changes. It’s important that you find a professional or support group to speak with about these problems so they can help you cope and adjust.


Jaime Venditti, State Coordinator, New York Health Works