American Heart Month a Good Reminder for All Montana Women

Joy Huber, NP
Holy Rosary Healthcare Clinic

According to statistics from the American Heart Association, more than 90 million adults are currently living with some form of cardiovascular disease. 

American Heart Month provides an excellent reminder to focus on cardiac health. This is especially true for women, who often overlook their own health needs as they care for their family. Women also may place a greater emphasis on other health concerns—breast cancer, for example—than they do on their heart health. This despite the fact that the number one cause of death among American women is heart disease. 

So what do women need to know? 

First, it's essential for both women and men to know their risk factors for developing heart disease. There are certain things all of us can control, such as quitting smoking or working to control our weight. Even a 10% weight loss can improve overall health and reduce stress on your heart. Other things we can’t control—such as our race or family history. 

Second, heart disease is something that you should talk about with your health care provider. If you are approaching menopause, talk about how changes in estrogen may increase your risk of heart disease. Ask about any test results, including what your cholesterol numbers mean, what your blood pressure should be and even any heart disease-related side effects of any medications. No question is too big or too small—we want you to understand and actively participate in your health.  

Third, learn the signs of a heart attack and how they may differ between men and women. The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary artery disease, which can develop over time and may not have any apparent symptoms before a heart attack. In addition, many women do not report chest pain as part of a cardiac episode; instead, it's often more common for them to feel tired or lightheaded, have shortness of breath or experience nausea. Because women mistake these symptoms as the flu or another illness, knowing when to seek immediate medical help is a must.  

Finally, all of us need to recognize that anyone--even children—can develop heart disease. “Heart disease," in fact, refers to several types of heart conditions, some of which are tied more to genetics than to lifestyle choices. As a healthcare provider, I encourage my patients, regardless of age, to make good health choices, including those outlined by the Centers for Disease Control. These steps include getting in regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and keeping other health conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and both Type I and Type II diabetes in check.

Joy Huber loves spending time with family – snowmobiling, baking and being with grandchildren. As her patient, she will listen to your needs, treat you with respect and take a holistic approach to your care. She especially enjoys caring for families – from pediatrics to geriatrics. An Ohio native, Joy is pleased to make Montana her home. To schedule an appointment with Joy contact Holy Rosary Healthcare Clinic at 406-233-2500.

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