The Heart of a Woman: Part II

[Part I of The Heart of a Woman appeared earlier this week. Read it here.]

Diabetes and CVD

Diabetes, a progressive disease in which the body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t respond properly to it, is defined as a fasting glucose of 126 mg per deciliter or more. Sixty-six to 75 percent of diabetics die of some form of CVD. Diabetes lowers “good” cholesterol and raises “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides levels. “Many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure and are overweight. Diabetes affects every organ of the body. People who have diabetes should be treated as if heart disease is inevitable.”

Body weight and CVD risk

Fifty-seven percent of women age 20 and older are obese or overweight. Thirty-six percent of women are inactive, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Thirty minutes or more of physical activity daily helps reduce risk by controlling blood cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity, and helping to lower HBP.

Heart attack symptoms

A heart attack shows up differently in a woman than it does in a man.

“What is considered atypicalfor women may be considered typical by women,” Barbara said. “Your symptoms can be very slight. Sometimes only fatigue and shortness of breath is experienced. Never ignore chest discomfort. Squeezing, pressure, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and returns, is serious. If you ignore these symptoms, they will occur more frequently, and become stronger as they go on.”

Reduce your risk of CVD

“CVD is a disease of behavior. As women, we often put career and family commitments ahead of taking care of ourselves. Remember, only you can change this. Learn your risk factors and live a healthy lifestyle to reduce them. Eating nutritious foods, exercising, taking appropriate medications, and knowing your numbers will all make a difference.”

Barbara emphasized the services available at the Bond Wellness Center, including nutrition counseling, and personally-tailored exercise plans.

“We have a variety of exercise equipment, trained staff, flexibility in scheduling, and most importantly, support, support, support,” she said. The Wellness Center is the only medically-based fitness center in New Hampshire.”

Warning Signs of Heart Attacks: ABCs

  • Angina—chest pain, back pain, deep aching
  • Breathlessness, or waking up and having difficulty catching your breath
  • Cold, clammy perspiration
  • Dizziness—unexplained light headedness, even blackouts
  • Edema, swelling of ankles, legs
  • Fluttering or rapid heart beat
  • Gastric upset or nausea; indigestion

Warning Signs of Stroke

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause


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