Heart Health for Women
You may think heart disease only affects men. This is not true. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women. FDA has tips to help you make good decisions about your heart health.
- Eat a heart healthy diet.
- Manage your health conditions.
- Get the facts about aspirin.
- Know the signs of a heart attack.
1. Eat a heart healthy diet.
- Choose foods that are ‘low salt’ or ‘low sodium’.
- Limit foods that have ‘trans fat’. Too much trans fat can cause heart attacks.
- Cut back on sugar. Sugar is also labeled as ‘glucose’, ‘fructose’, ‘sucrose’, and ‘corn syrup’.
- Watch "Eat for a Healthy Heart" video.
- Get tips on how to use the nutrition facts label.
2. Manage your health conditions.
Common health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease.
- Take your medicines as directed. Do not stop taking your medicines until your doctor says that it is OK.
- Consider using less costly generics as safe and effective alternatives to your more costly brand-name medicines. Discuss with your doctor if this is an option for you and get your questions answered.
- If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar level.
- Get your blood pressure and cholesterol tested.
- Ask your doctor how you should manage your health conditions during pregnancy.
- Some women need a device to help their heart work. Talk to your doctor about what device is best for your heart problem.
- Download a booklet to help you talk to your doctor about medicines for diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.
- Learn about the risks of taking statin medicines to lower your cholesterol.
3. Get the facts about aspirin.
Daily use of aspirin to prevent heart attacks or a stroke is not right for everyone.
- Ask your healthcare provider if you should use aspirin.
- If aspirin is right for you, find out:
- how much you should take
- how often you should take it.
- how long you should take aspirin. Some products combine aspirin with other ingredients and are not
- meant for long-term use.
- Tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines and supplements you take. Your risk of bleeding may be higher if you use aspirin with also taking certain medicines, vitamins, or herbs.
- Read other tips on the daily use of aspirin.
- Get the facts on using of aspirin to prevent heart attack and stroke.
4. Know the signs of a heart attack.
The signs of a heart attack can be different for women than they are for men.
- Chest pain (heavy ache or pressure)
- Pain in your upper body (arms, neck, jaw, back or upper stomach)
- Shortness of breath
- Breaking out in a cold sweat
- Unusual or unexplained tiredness
- Feeling dizzy or light-headed
- Feeling sick to your stomach (nausea)
Call 9-1-1 if you think you are having a heart attack.
Download and share a fact sheet on heart health for women. (PDF 457 KB)
Get the facts about heart attacks in women.
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Make a Difference
Clinical trials help researchers learn about heart health and how treatments work. People of all ages, racial and ethnic groups, healthy women, and those with a variety of health conditions should be included.
Visit the Women in Clinical Trials webpage to learn more about how you can participate.
Heart Health Social Media Toolkit
The FDA Office of Women's Health offers resources to help women and healthcare providers get informed about heart health. Use the Heart Health Social Media Toolkit to encourage women in your network to protect their hearts. The toolkit includes resources for 'everyday' women and health professionals, including sample social media messages and blog posts.
Download and Share: Social Media Toolkit (PDF 375KB)
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