Health Notes

Keeping the Beat

by Katina Granger on August 26, 2016

On average, your heart beats 80 times a minute.

That’s 4,800 times every hour.

115,200 times every day.

Over the course of a year, your heart will register more than 42 million heartbeats.

Keeping your heart healthy and strong is essential for everyone and doing so means avoiding risks and making smart choices. And while many people associate heart disease with men, it’s just as important for women.

“Most women are not as healthy as they think,” said Katie Triplett, MSN, APRN-BC, a cardiovascular nurse practitioner and chest pain coordinator at Methodist Hospital. “An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases. Right now, 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease and stroke. It’s the No. 1 killer of women, causing one in three deaths. Every 80 seconds, a woman dies from heart disease or stroke.”

So what are those risk factors men and women need to keep in mind?

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Diabetes and pre-diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being physically inactive
  • Having a family history of early heart disease
  • Having a history of preeclampsia during pregnancy
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Age (55 or older for women)

Watch these videos from Methodist Physicians Clinic providers on caring for your heart.

After menopause, women are more apt to develop heart disease because their body’s natural production of estrogen drops. Women who have gone through early menopause – either naturally or because of a hysterectomy – are twice as likely to develop heart disease as women of the same age who have not yet gone through menopause. That’s why it’s so important for you to avoid other risk factors and check in regularly with your family physician.

“A well-woman visit is a yearly exam where your doctor can assess your health, including risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Charles Olson, cardiology medical director at Methodist Hospital. “It is important to keep this annual appointment.”

And what should you talk about with your doctor?

“Don’t be afraid to ask important questions!” said Kim Robison, MSN, RN, PCCN, a cardiac unit educator at Methodist Hospital. “Talk to your health care provider about your family history, smoking history, current diet, blood pressure and weight. Ask him or her what you can do to decrease your chances of developing cardiovascular disease.”

“You will want to take those extra steps to decrease your risk factors, including choosing heart-healthy foods and exercising regularly,” said Dr. Olson.

Taking steps today can ensure a healthy heartbeat tomorrow and beyond.

Go RedMethodist Health System is a proud sponsor of the 2016 Omaha Go Red For Women Expo. The event is aimed at educating and inspiring women to make lifestyle changes for better heart health.

Katina Granger is a blogger and PR/Social Media Specialist for Methodist Health System.
Contact Katina at MethodistPR@nmhs.org.
Katina Granger

 

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