When was the last time you checked in and felt your heartbeat? As we go through our day we stay blissfully unaware of our heart's activity. But your heart works extremely hard. It supplies you with 100,000 beats per day, 37 million beats per year, and 3 billion beats in a lifetime.
Here’s another not-so-well-known fact: Heart disease is the number one killer of women. In some women, cardiovascular disease is busy developing for decades before ever being diagnosed. According the American Heart Association, only one in five American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat.
More: Get the Facts on the Prevalence of Heart Disease in Women
How to Recognize the Symptoms of a Heart Attack
Symptoms of a pending heart attack are are often very different, and harder to recognize, in women than in men. Often more subtle, these symptoms—like light headedness, fatigue or shortness of breath—are often mistaken for symptoms of the flu. In fact, statistics show that women are less likely to call 911 themselves when experiencing symptoms of a heart attack. That may be one reason why heart disease causes one in three women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.
More: 6 Tests to Tell You If You're Having a Heart Attack
Know and Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
A whopping 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease. Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease and the gap between men and women’s survival continues to widen. And size does not matter. You can be thin and fit and still have elevated risks. Let’s delve more deeply into those risks and what can be done to reduce them:
More: 8 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease
Know Your Body Composition
Knowing your body composition, or what your body is made up of, is very important to heart health. For example, abdominal obesity is very risky. When you look in the mirror do you see an apple shape? If so, talk to your doctor about taking steps to lose weight, including ones that target your waistline. Your heart will thank you.
More: How to Walk Off 5 Times More Belly Fat