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February is American Heart Month

American Heart MonthMany of you reading this are young, but you are never too young to start thinking about your health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women, taking more than 600,000 lives a year in the U.S. — the cause of 1 in 4 deaths!

And since I am talking to you ladies, I am going to focus more on the things that you need to be aware of, since we do have some differences compared to our male counterparts.

Did you know that two-thirds of women who die suddenly from a heart attack reported no symptoms previously? That’s pretty scary! And here’s the thing — most of us don’t realize that crushing chest pain isn’t the only way that a heart attack can present. In women particularly, we tend to have other symptoms, like burning pain in the neck, jaw, abdomen, or back, or chest pain that is sharp and burning, and can happen with activity, stress, or even at rest.

So now that I’ve given you all the doom and gloom, what can we do? The most important step from my perspective is to make sure you’re getting yearly check ups! Often as women and moms, we have a ton on our plates, and taking care of ourselves sometimes comes last. So make sure you are seeing a provider at least once a year to discuss any risks you might have — a family history of heart disease, having your blood pressure and cholesterol checked, and if you’re smoking, think about quitting! Smoking is the No. 1 modifiable risk factor for developing heart disease.

Diet is important too — and I get asked about diet all day, let me tell you! Now here’s the thing: There’s no magic bullet — not for weight loss, and not to lower your cholesterol. Some things that work well for some people don’t for others, but generally speaking, sticking to a Mediterranean style diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables with lean meats and proteins will help you lose some weight, lower your cholesterol, and generally feel better. It’s all about moderation and trying to make healthy choices most of the time.

And don’t forget about exercise — just 30 minutes, five days a week of moderate activity helps keep a healthy body weight, lower blood pressure, blood sugars and cholesterol.

Magrini, AmandaAbout Dr. Amanda Magrini

Amanda Magrini, MD, is a board-certified family medicine physician at Northern Nevada Medical Group’s Los Altos location in Sparks. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Nevada, Reno and her medical training at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. Dr. Magrini has practiced family medicine for seven years, including residency, and enjoys her specialty, because she likes taking care of the whole family, from newborns to grandparents. She likes preventative medicine, helping people take care of themselves and the relationships she is able to form with her patients. Dr. Magrini grew up in Sparks, NV and likes that it is a safe place to live with great educational opportunities and beautiful scenery. She thinks Northern Nevada is a great place to raise a family and looks forward to raising her own children here. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, camping, boating, running and traveling the world. Dr. Magrini is also very close with her family; she is married to her high school sweetheart and values spending time with him and the rest of her family. Disclosure: “The author is a licensed physician practicing with Northern Nevada Medical Group, but all opinions expressed are solely the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Northern Nevada Medical Group or any other affiliates of Universal Health Services, Inc.”

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