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Early testing and lifestyle changes reduce the risk of heart attack

Heart disease kills one woman approximately every minute and is the leading cause of death among females. Understanding your risk factors and the signs of cardiovascular disease can help diminish the threat.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, take time to honor your loved ones by lowering your risk of heart attack and improving your cardiovascular health. Only one in five women believe heart disease is their greatest health threat, and 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease, the American Heart Association reports. Celebrate National Heart Month this February by visiting an Any Lab Test Now location to get an overview of your heart health status. The Cholesterol (Lipid) Panel at Any Lab Test Now can be used as a baseline assessment of your heart health. Knowing your numbers is the first step to preventing yourself from becoming a heart attack statistic.

Any Lab Test Now’s Cholesterol (Lipid) Panel includes the following components:

  • Cholesterol, Total – total cholesterol is used help predict an individual’s risk of developing heart disease
  • Triglycerides – Triglycerides are a form of fat and a major source of energy for the body
  • HDL Cholesterol – HDL cholesterol is often termed “good” cholesterol. The test for HDL cholesterol measures the amount of HDL in blood
  • LDL-Cholesterol (calculated) – LDL is considered to be undesirable and is often called “bad” cholesterol because it deposits excess cholesterol in blood vessel walls and contributes to hardening of the arteries and heart disease
  • Cholesterol/HDL Ratio (calculated)

What is heart disease?
There are many different types of heart disease, including coronary artery disease, heart rhythm problems and congenital heart defects. Cardiovascular disease involves plaque buildup in the arteries, a condition called atherosclerosis, which decreases blood flow, increasing the risk for both heart attack and stroke.

Symptoms of heart attack in women
Surprisingly, the symptoms of a heart attack vary between men and women. Men typically report classic symptoms, including chest pain, nausea and shortness of breath. The symptoms for women may be less obvious, according to the American Heart Association, the nation’s oldest nonprofit dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Symptoms in women can include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Jaw, neck or upper back pain
  • Chest pain
  • Pain or pressure in the lower chest or upper abdomen
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Indigestion
  • Extreme fatigue

Are you at risk?
Understanding the risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease is a key step in taking care of your heart health.

Inactivity

Physical activity strengthens your heart muscle and can lower cholesterol, a major cause of heart disease.

Family history

Genetic factors can play a role in your chances of developing heart disease. Knowing your family history can help you know if you are at risk for high cholesterol and allay concerns.

Diabetes

High blood glucose can damage your blood vessels and nerves in your heart, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Smoking

Smoking damages the lining of the heart’s arteries.

Mental stress and depression

Lack of energy for exercise makes people prone to depression more at risk for heart disease. People diagnosed with depression also may have sticky platelets which can increase the hardening of arteries, boosting the chances of a heart attack, reports Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Menopause

A decline in estrogen can increase your risk for heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.

Pregnancy complications

Complications during pregnancy can indicate future heart health, according to reports. Women who suffer from pre-eclampsia, a high blood pressure condition during pregnancy, are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack in the future.

Snoring

Eighteen million American adults suffer from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder where breathing stops and starts during the night. Symptoms of sleep apnea can lead to heart disease, according to The Sleep Foundation, a national advocacy group touting healthy sleep habits.

Lifestyle changes can prevent heart disease

In addition to getting tested to know your heart health status, there are several steps to take to improve your cardiovascular health. The American Heart Association recommends a healthy diet, exercise and regular physical exams to stay in peak form. The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. It also encourages women to make muscle-strengthening exercises a priority. To improve heart health, doctors recommend giving up smoking, reducing alcohol consumption and getting blood sugar levels tested regularly.

Celebrate American Heart Month by visiting one of Any Lab Test Now’s storefront locations to determine your heart health.