Heart disease is the number one killer of American women. Heart disease is a group of diseases of the heart and the blood vessel system in the heart. Coronary artery disease, the most common type, affects the blood vessels of the heart. It can cause angina (an-JEYE-nuh) or a heart attack. Angina is a pain in the chest that happens when the heart does not get enough blood. It may feel like a pressing or squeezing pain, often in the chest, but sometimes in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. Having angina means you're more likely to have a heart attack. A heart attack happens when a clot mostly or completely blocks blood flow to the heart muscle.
Signs of a heart attack:
Chest discomfort — pressure, squeezing, or pain
Shortness of breath
Discomfort in the upper body — arms, shoulder, neck, back
If you think you are having a heart attack, you must act quickly to prevent disability or death. Wait no more than a few minutes — five at most — before calling 911.
Higher rates of diabetes, cholesterol, obesity, and high blood pressure increase the risk of heart disease for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. Heart disease is a major cause of death and disability for this population. You have the power to fight heart disease! Read on for some tips to keep your heart healthy.
Keep a healthy weight.
Make physical activity a habit. Health benefits are gained by doing the following each week:
2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or
1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or
A combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity and
Muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days of the week
Eat heart-healthy foods. Eat whole-grain foods, vegetables, and fruit. Choose lean meats and low-fat cheese and dairy products. Limit foods that have lots of saturated fat, like butter, whole milk, baked goods, ice cream, fatty meats, and cheese.
Know your numbers. Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol (total, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides) and blood glucose (sugar). Follow your doctor's orders to keep your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels under control.
Don't smoke. If you smoke, try to quit. For help along the way, check out our Quitting Smoking section.
Make the Call, Don't Miss a Beat - Not all women have chest discomfort or other common symptoms during their heart attack. Use this website to learn more about the symptoms of a heart attack in women and what to do if you think you are experiencing a heart attack.
Physical Activity Fact Sheet - This fact sheet explains the benefits of exercise for people of all ages, how much exercise you should get each day, and when you should talk to your doctor.
Take Care of Your Heart. Manage Your Diabetes. For Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders - The National Diabetes Education Program's "Take Care of Your Heart" campaign encourages Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians with diabetes to take steps now to reduce their risk of heart attacks or strokes, the leading killers of people with diabetes. The campaign also focuses on the importance of family support. Through this site, you can access different Asian-language versions of this campaign.