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Take it to heart

Women don’t always experience ‘classic’ heart attack symptoms

Photo: baona/iStockphoto

Know your numbers

For Lacy, fitness and eating a balanced diet had always been part of her lifestyle. She realizes now that she lacked knowledge about her paternal family’s health history and didn’t know her numbers.

Those numbers are the key heart health measurements used to help determine one’s heart attack risk and can be obtained during a visit to your health care provider. They are:

  • Total cholesterol
  • High-density lipoproteins, also known as “good” cholesterol
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood sugar
  • Body mass index

“You should be able to rattle [your numbers] off the top of your head,” Minissian said.

Women can help limit their risk by not smoking; maintaining a healthy weight; exercising regularly; and eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish.

Lacy’s experience has allowed her to counsel friends, family members and students in her classes on heart health. Her best advice to other women?

“Don’t wait,” she said. “We don’t need to die from this.”

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