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Women need heart checks too
This column addresses women and heart health. Guys, you can take the week off (from reading this column, not from doing good things for your heart), or you can continue reading it and encourage the women in your life to take their heart health seriously.
Ladies, you probably know that heart disease kills many, many more women than breast cancer, in fact, all cancers combined. Do you get regular mammograms? Good! You need to be just as proactive about keeping your heart healthy.
I have a suggestion: if you are age 40 or over and haven’t been to see your doctor in a while, call today to make an appointment to discuss your heart health.
When you make that appointment, tell them the purpose of the visit so if you haven’t had cholesterol, triglycerides or diabetes testing in awhile, you can get those tests done beforehand and have the results to discuss at the appointment.
These are the questions you will want to have on your list when you walk in for your scheduled visit, and make sure to write down the answers:
• What is my total cholesterol, HDL and LDL and triglycerides and what do the numbers mean?
• How often should I have these checked?
• What is my blood pressure? Is it high?
• What are my height, weight, and Body Mass Index, and where does my BMI put me on the chart – underweight, normal, overweight or obese?
• If you are a smoker, the question to ask is “How can I quit now?”
• What is my fasting blood sugar, is it normal, and what does that have to do with heart health?
• What can I do to prevent diabetes?
• Is the amount of exercise I’m getting enough to keep my heart healthy? Can I do better in this area?
After your appointment, go home and measure your waist. If your doctor did that, ten points for him or her! For women, having a waist measurement of 35 inches or more increases your risk for not only heart disease but stroke and diabetes as well.
One last thing, and this is for the guys, too. Check out the American Heart Association’s website, heart.org.
On the opening page, click on the Healthy Living tab. On the next screen, at the bottom center, click on Heart Check Assessment and follow the prompts to get a personalized plan for improving your heart health.
According to the American Heart Association, we are winning the battle against heart disease and stroke in this country, but we could still do better. Why not do your part this month?