April 26, 2019
FIVE THINGS WOMEN CAN DO TO IMPROVE HEART HEALTH
Make Your Heart a Priority with Tips from Dr. Fearon with ThedaCare
APPLETON, Wis. – More than one in three women is living with some form of cardiovascular disease, making it the leading cause of death for women, according to the American Heart Association.
“For women, it’s important to know what steps should be taken to help improve heart health,” said Simone Fearon, MD, Medical Director and Physician Leader with ThedaCare Cardiovascular Care. “Taking care of your heart is something you can do for yourself and the people who love you”.
Here are five ways you can be kind to your heart:
- Know your risk. If you have relatives with a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular issues, you may be at an increased risk. Oral contraceptives can raise your risk for high blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about your risk profile. Don’t assume the worst — awareness can help you make better choices in your daily life and can help you and your doctor make educated decisions together.
- Do not use tobacco. Smoking is a leading contributor to heart disease and many other health problems. Vaping is also believed to increase your risk. Quitting now can help prevent and even reverse damage. Most states have a smoking cessation program, such as Wisconsin’s 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) quit line.
- Enjoy a healthy lifestyle. A low-fat diet full of fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein can help prevent damage to your arteries and heart. Staying active can also help your heart stay strong. Eating right and getting plenty of exercise can help you keep your weight in check as well; being severely overweight is a major risk factor for heart disease and other health problems.
- Stay on top of any chronic health problems. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and other chronic conditions can greatly increase your risk for heart problems. Work closely with your doctor to keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar at healthy levels, and if your doctor prescribes medications, take them as directed.
- Take some “me” time alone and with friends. Taking time for yourself isn’t selfish, explained Dr. Fearon. Its self-care and it’s critical to your physical and mental health, especially when you have many responsibilities and stressors in your life.
“One thing we don’t talk about enough is staying socially connected as women,” she said. “We have to be deliberate about spending time with our friends. We should use that time to relax and have big laughs together.”
A lot of things have changed, but many women — even successful professional women — still take on the bulk of household and family care, and we often end up caring for our elderly parents at the same time. We may not realize we’re putting ourselves at greater risk for health problems, including heart disease.
“Don’t try to be that ‘superwoman’. Reach out to your partner or others for help when you need a break,” said Fearon. “You’ll be a better mom, sister, daughter and person if you take care of your mental and physical health.”
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization serves a community of more than 600,000 residents and employs more than 6,700 healthcare professionals throughout the regions. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 31 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.
Media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public Relations Specialist at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.