Pittsburgh, PA
February 1, 2023
    News           Sports           Lifestyle           Classifieds           About Us
Health & Science
Place an Ad
Travel Getaways
Headlines by E-mail
Home >  Health & Science Printer-friendly versionE-mail this story
Helping your heart be strong

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Correction/Clarification: (Published Feb. 14, 2002) People trying to prevent heart disease through a healthful diet should avoid eating saturated fat, such as butter. A package of stories Tuesday on improving heart health for women suggested they avoid monounsaturated fat, such as olive oil. In reality, monounsaturated fat is believed to be less harmful than the saturated variety.

The Working Hearts initiative of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation offers advice and tips for women about women and heart disease and advice on how to prevent it.

Symptoms of a heart attack

You may experience the classic chest pains associated with heart attacks in men. Or you may have less obvious warnings. Seek help fast -- call 911 -- with more than one of these symptoms:

Shortness of breath

Pain in the abdomen, back, jaw or throat

A general sensation of uneasiness -- just feeling sick

Unexplained anxiety

Weakness or fatigue

Palpitations, cold sweat or paleness

Chest discomfort, lasting more than a few minutes, or recurring

Chest discomfort, with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.

Know your risks

Risk factors you can control:

High cholesterol, managed by diet and medication

Diet: Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and avoid foods heavy in salt and monounsaturated fats.

Exercise: Even 10 minute spurts of brisk activity help. Thirty minutes a day is best.

Smoking: Enroll in a smoking cessation program or talk to your doctor about options for quitting.

Obesity: Take control of diet and exercise and you'll take control of this one, too.

Diabetes: You may be unaware you have diabetes. Obesity is one risk factor. Your doctor can advise you.

High blood pressure: Take control of all of the above, and you'll take control of this. You can learn your blood pressure at a local health fair. A good measure is if you get winded doing even simple things like climbing a flight of steps.

Risk factors you can't control:

Age more than 50 years



Family history of heart attack

For all of these, you need to develop a plan of treatment with your primary care provider and your obstetrician-gynecologist.

Talking to your doctor

You and your doctor can be partners in your heart health. Plan ahead and keep a record of your questions, symptoms and concerns. When you visit your primary care provider, take this record with you and ask these questions:

What are my risk factors for heart disease and how can I lower them?

What are the effects of menopause on my health?

What are my blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels; and are they healthy?

Can you help me stop smoking?

Do I need to lose-- or gain -- weight?

Are there changes in my health since my last visit that I should be concerned about?

What advice and resources can you suggest to me to improve my heart health?

How often should I return for check-ups to assure my heart health?

Eating right

You can be anywhere -- at home, at a restaurant, at a party -- and still eat healthfully while enjoying yourself.

At a restaurant, follow these guidelines:

Order dark green, tossed salad -- without cheese, eggs or bacon -- served immediately, to take the edge off hunger.

Order condiments (dressings and sauces) on the side, or try lemon wedges or balsamic vinegar.

Order your food broiled, roasted, grilled, blackened, tomato or broth-based, poached, steamed or boiled.

Portion size matters. Ask your server to pack up half your meal portion before even presenting it to you.

Can't resist dessert? Order one for the table and share. Better yet, consider a fresh fruit dish for dessert.

At a fast food restaurant, think small. Pick the regular or junior portion size -- with no sauces or salad dressing (unless they are low or non-fat).

(Compiled by Leslie Bonci
director of UPMC Sports Medicine Nutrition Program,
for Working Hearts.)

"Take 10"

Women spend their lives taking care of others, but seldom stop long enough to take care of themselves. What's a woman to do?

The Working Hearts "Take 10" program is based on research showing that a person can lower her blood pressure in as few as 10 minutes -- simply by taking time to relax, meditate or pray. Research also shows that one can achieve the benefits of exercise by being active 10 minutes a day, three times a day.

Search | Contact Us |  Site Map | Terms of Use |  Privacy Policy |  Advertise | Help |  Corrections