Learn how to take care of your heart

In the United States, 1 in 4 women dies from heart disease and more than 1 in 3 women is living with some form of cardiovascular disease.

Among women, black women have the highest risk of dying early from heart disease and stroke.

Certain conditions increase a person’s chance of heart disease, including diabetes, high blood pressure, overweight/obesity and high LDL cholesterol.

The Good News
Almost 80 percent of heart disease is preventable. That means that there are simple steps you can take to lower your risk for heart disease.

  • Eat a healthy diet. Incorporating nutritious foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables into your diet is important for heart health.   
  • Stay smoke-free. For help quitting smoking call 1-866-NY-QUITS or 1-855-DEJELO-YA (for Spanish speakers).
  • Move more. Being physically active helps keep your heart healthy.
  • Know your numbers. Since conditions like high blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol are often silent, it is important to have your doctor check your numbers.
  • Talk to your health care provider about ways that you can improve your health.

The ABCs of Heart Health
If you have any medical conditions, managing them appropriately is important. Learn the ABCs of heart health and use them in your daily life.

  • Appropriate aspirin therapy for those who need it
  • Blood pressure control
  • Cholesterol management
  • Smoking cessation

Know the Signs
Some women may experience symptoms of early heart disease, such as heavy sharp chest pain or pain in the upper abdomen. However, sometimes heart disease is silent and only gets diagnosed when a woman has certain signs, including:

  • Heart Attack: Chest pain/discomfort, upper body discomfort shortness of breath
  • Arrhythmia: Fluttery feelings in the chest
  • Heart Failure: Shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling in the limbs
  • Stroke: Sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body. Other symptoms include sudden confusion, difficulty seeing and loss of coordination.

Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home
Having an electric blood pressure monitor at home to monitor your blood pressure daily is ideal. This will allow you to get the most accurate picture of your blood pressure over time as opposed to only occasional blood pressure readings in a medical office. The American Heart Association recommends an automatic, cuff-style, bicep (upper-arm) monitor.

Once you've purchased a monitor, bring it to your next medical appointment. Have your health care provider check to see that you are using it correctly and getting the same results as the equipment in the office. Plan to bring your monitor in once a year to make sure the readings are accurate.

The Westchester County Department of Health and the American Heart Association have partnered to bring you the following tools and materials to assist you with taking and keeping a record of your blood pressure readings at home: