Are You At Risk for Heart Disease? 5 Things Every Woman Should Know
To coincide with American Heart Month and the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women campaign, we’ve compiled the five things women don’t know, but most definitely should, about heart disease and how to lower the risk.
1. Symptoms are different.
Women may or may not feel chest pain with a heart attack, which occurs when the blood flow to the heart is constricted or cut off. Common symptoms for women include shortness of breath, pain in the jaw, neck or back, nausea and vomiting, and extreme fatigue.
Symptoms may come on when you’re active, and subside when you’re at rest. They also may develop over days or weeks.
2. Family history matters.
If your father died of heart disease before age 55 or your mother before 60, you should be screened as soon as possible, says Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, author of Every Woman’s Guide to a Heart Healthy Life.
Ask your doctor to test your cholesterol, blood pressure and sugars — even if you didn’t have relatives who died young. He or she may also want to do additional tests that can ferret out heart disease while it is still in its early stages. Those include the carotid intima-media thickness test and the coronary calcium scan.
3. Stress can hurt you.
When you feel stressed out, your body releases adrenaline, which in turn increases your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. The hormone cortisol also surges, releasing sugars into the bloodstream and suppressing functions not essential in a “fight or flight” situation, according to the Mayo Clinic.
If the stress is constant, overexposure to cortisol can cause damage. Stress can also drive people to make unhealthy life choices like drinking too much alcohol.
In a study published in 2010, researchers in Israel found that cortisol levels in hair — a marker of chronic stress — were a stronger predictor of heart attacks than cholesterol level or weight.
4. Prevention works.
As much as 80 to 90 percent of the time, heart disease is preventable if it is diagnosed soon enough, Steinbaum says. If you show early signs, you may need to be on medication. “But you don’t have to have a heart attack and die,” she says.
Good prevention measures can stop the plaque in your arteries from becoming too great or too unstable. They can also keep your blood pressure and sugar levels from causing problems in the arteries.
5. Take action now.
“It’s never too late to start exercising, change your diet, get healthy,” Steinbaum says. “I see it all the time — people who’ve never exercised get physically fit, and it’s amazing."
One of her patients became motivated to change when she woke up on her 63rd birthday and realized she was the same age her father had been when he died of a heart attack. She discovered she had very high cholesterol, and began taking her health seriously.
“She has taken control of her life and she doesn’t have to be a victim of her family history,” Steinbaum says.
Schneider Electric's intelligent patient room: need to know
Schneider Electric has launched a virtual showcase that features its new "intelligent patient room". What is it exactly?
Who: Schneider Electric is a multinational that develops energy and automation solutions for many different industries - including hospitality, education, defence, and healthcare. Founded in 1836, today it is a Fortune 500 company, and it currently provides technology to 40% of hospitals around the world, among them Penn Medicine, one of the top hospitals in the US where Schneider's EcoStruxure for Healthcare is deployed, an IoT solution.
What: Schneider has launched its Innovation Experience Live Healthcare Lab, an immersive experience that takes visitors through a demonstration of a hospital, including the doctor’s office, the operating room, and the intelligent patient room.
The room features a digital patient footwall - a touchscreen that creates a single reference point for patients, families and healthcare providers, by incorporating care information, entertainment and environmental controls all in one place. A separate digital patient door display has important information for healthcare staff.
All Schneider's equipment is low-voltage, and integrated so that the patient room, clinical needs and IT are all seamlessly connected, what Schneider calls a digital “system of systems.”
Why: Mike Sanders, Customer Projects & Services in Healthcare Innovation at Schneider Electric, explains: “The hospital of the future will need to put the patient experience at the forefront, using innovative and connected systems to provide superior in-hospital care experiences.”
“With the shift to remote work and business brought forth by the pandemic, we knew that we needed to invest in a new virtual experience that showcases our vision for a truly integrated healthcare experience. We believe our intelligent patient room is the solution that our healthcare partners and customers have been looking for, and we’re excited to offer a way for them to experience it no matter where they are in the world.”
Where: The virtual experience was modelled after the new innovations installed at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, the first real-world installation of Schneider Electric’s fully integrated intelligent patient room technology. It is currently being hosted at the company’s St. Louis Innovation Hub and Innovation Executive Briefing Center (IEBC) facility.