Newsroom | Community Health

  • Share to Linked in
  • Share to Facebook
A health care worker takes a woman's blood pressure

Office Visit: Show Some Love for Your Heart

By Todd Hoffman, M.D.

For a long time, heart problems were thought to be a concern only for men. That’s not the case anymore.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 44% of women in the United States currently live with some form of heart disease, also the leading cause of death for women. Heart disease accounted for nearly 1 in every 5 female deaths in 2021.

February is American Heart Month and it’s important for all women to educate themselves about heart disease symptoms and how they can improve their heart health.

While some women have no symptoms of heart disease, others may feel a dull or heavy chest discomfort or pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back. Women may have other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or excessive fatigue that won’t go away.

The good news is there are ways for women to reduce their risk for developing heart disease. Here are a few tips:

  • Know your blood pressure. Uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to heart disease and many other health problems. High blood pressure may have no symptoms, so it’s important to check your blood pressure regularly and report any elevated readings to your health care provider.
Dr. Todd Hoffman haedshot

Todd Hoffman, M.D.

  • Talk to your health care provider about getting tested for diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes increases your heart disease risk.
  • Stop smoking. Your health care provider can help you with a plan to quit.
  • Get your cholesterol and triglycerides checked.
  • Make sure you get at least 30 minutes of physical activity five times each week. Regular activity helps improve overall heart function.
  • Implement a healthy diet plan. Overweight or obesity raises your heart disease risk.
  • Manage your stress levels by finding healthy ways to cope or reduce your stress.

The information above can be helpful guidelines for you, but it’s important to discuss heart disease risks with your health care provider and design a plan tailored for you.

Take care of your heart. You’ll be glad you did.

Let’s make it a good month!

Todd Hoffman, M.D., C.P.E., is chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, a division of Health Care Service Corp., a Mutual Legal Reserve Company.

A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association