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There is no questioning the fact that men and women are different, very different. The way they think, feel, act, dress, argue, love and appear can be different. These differences have been discussed for many years and have even been the basis for books, films and research studies.

Another thing that can be different in men and women is heart health and recognizing the signs and symptoms of a more serious issue.

Some reports show that men are likely to have a heart attack earlier in age than women, the symptoms can vary, and risk factors are different. Others state heart disease can be harder to diagnose in women than in men.

One thing most studies show, however, is that heart disease and heart attacks can be harder on women than men. That is why it is crucial for women to pay more attention to their well-being and to work with a doctor who specializes in women’s health.

Below are specific actions women can take to possibly prevent a heart health mistake.

Know Your Heredity

Heart disease can run in families. There are genetic factors that can lead to a history of heart disease. Factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol and even obesity. Each of these can lead to heart damage. Too often, women have two or three of these disorders, leading to an even higher risk of a critical heart health incident.

Knowing your family’s history of heart health can help you make changes to your diet and lifestyle so you can avoid triggering the genetics that can lead to poor heart health.

Know Your Health

You may think you are healthy. You may even feel like a million bucks. This does not mean you are completely okay.  Some diseases come without symptoms. The best way to know your health is to meet with a healthcare professional that specializes in women’s health.

They can run diagnostics and obtain proper blood work to ensure you are indeed healthy.

Often, women mistake symptoms for “common issues”. For example, you may think being out of breath is due to gaining those few extra pounds during the holidays. This may not be true, however. It may be due to an underlying cause.

Even if you feel great, it is worth being checked out for peace of mind.

Know Your Symptoms

As mentioned before, symptoms women have can be completely different that men. Most likely, you have heard chest pain and numbness or tingling in your arm are the signs to look for. While these do occur, not all women experience them during a heart crisis.

Women should look for risks such as pain that can occur in your chest, as well as in your back, arms, and even your jaw. Nausea and vomiting are additional symptoms you should not take lightly.

Shortness of breath, breaking out into a cold sweat, and feeling lightheaded or like you may faint are other symptoms women should pay attention to when it comes to heart health. Some women have noted they felt like they had the flu when they were actually experiencing a heart attack.

It is always better to have your symptoms checked out by a doctor.

Know Your Risk Factors

Most likely everyone around you has already told you the dangers you face in choosing to engage in negative activities like smoking, abusing alcohol or drugs, or being obese. You may be sick of hearing this from friends or family but their concerns are real.

If you speak to your healthcare provider, they will tell you the same thing. There are many environmental factors that can lead to poor heart health. Smoking, drinking, using drugs and eating too much are just a few of them.

Environmental stressors that lead to poor heart health can also include living in an abusive situation, financial strain, work related stress, and any mental illness with which you are struggling. All of these put tension on your body and over time, can affect how your heart performs.

Even lack of sleep, lack of leisure time and fun activities, pollution in the air and in processed foods can contribute to poor heart health. Endometriosis is another factor only women can have, that can lead to cardiac issues.

Preventing as many of these risk factors as possible sets you up for improved health.

Know Prevention Techniques

The most obvious heart attack prevention techniques are lifestyle issues that you know are negative. They can be habits that are hard to break, but you can do it with help of your healthcare provider. Breaking habits such as smoking, over-eating and substance abuse will give you back a life you never thought you could have.

Other prevention techniques include making small changes such as adding mind, body and spirit wellness to your daily routine. There is a strong connection between your mind, body and spirit. Practices such as meditation, prayer, yoga and acupuncture can help you recognize the needs of your whole body.

Get Started Today

The good news is that you can start your journey to improved heart health right now. You don’t have to wait until Monday or the New Year. You can start any time of day, any day of the week with some simple steps.

The first step is to get excited about the process. You are making positive changes that will lead to a better life. The second step is to schedule an appointment with a specialist in women’s healthcare. This is someone who treats everything from your hormones to weight loss to heart health screenings.

You want to choose a doctor that is focused on your whole body and conducts testing on all parts to give you the best chance at success. This is more than a family doctor can offer in the limited time they can see you.

Choose the right doctor and all other steps will fall into place, like having fun and enjoying your healthier lifestyle.