Listen to Your Heart

Posted by RMPBS

It’s a time of chocolate, love poems…and hearts.

In fact, February is heart month.

With cardiovascular diseases our nation's number one killer, and coronary heart disease the single leading cause of death for American women, let’s take a minute to review the facts:

• Nearly twice as many women in the United States die of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases as from all forms of cancer, including breast cancer.

• Men have a greater risk of heart attack than women, and they have attacks earlier in life. Each year about 55,000 more women than men have strokes, and about 60 percent of total stroke deaths occur in women.

• Both women and men are more likely to develop heart disease or stroke if their close blood relatives have had them. Race is also a factor. Black women have a greater risk of heart disease and stroke than white women. Compared with whites, African-American men and women are more likely to die of stroke.

• Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States. Smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular heart disease among women. Women who smoke have an increased risk for ischemic stroke and subarachnoid hemorrhage. Constant exposure to others' tobacco smoke (secondhand smoke) at work or at home also increases the risk, even for nonsmokers.

• Various studies have shown that lack of physical activity is a risk factor for heart disease and indirectly increases the risk of stroke. Overall, they found that heart disease is almost twice as likely to develop in inactive people than in those who are more active.

Find out how you can take the first steps to maintain a healthy heart.

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