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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 735,000 Americans will have a heart attack this year. Commonly thought of as a man’s disease, heart disease is the leading cause of death for one out of every four women. Many women are unaware of the symptoms – especially for a heart attack – and don’t understand how they can be affected. A sobering statistic, and as a result, The Legacy at Home - the largest not-for-profit home health provider in Greater Dallas - is working to ensure the successful implementation of heart-healthy practices for those they serve in their homes through home health and private duty caregiving. The team works daily to help clients not only implement the plans put in place by their physicians, but to better their understanding of how they can further improve their health. This is particularly beneficial for female clients who are often unaware of how heart disease can affect their health for the long-term. It is interactions such as this that Karen Webb, LVN for The Legacy at Home, knows well as she interacts with clients daily.

“With better awareness, women can take the necessary steps to improve their heart health,” said Webb. “Diet and exercise are always the most important factors, and making the necessary changes can have a dramatic impact, especially for patients with a history of heart disease. At The Legacy Senior Communities, parent organization of The Legacy at Home, we do what we can to equip our clients – male or female – with the information they need to learn more about the disease and how they can be impacted. We do this by providing informational pamphlets, personalized diet plans, and information on symptoms.”

Webb finds that as they continue to educate clients and their families, it’s important for female patients to be at least aware of the potential dangers of decisions related to their health. According to the American Heart Association, while heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S., the majority of women affected often credit their symptoms to less life-threatening conditions. As a result, it’s more important than ever to know the signs of a heart attack in women. Here are the most common symptoms:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. The pain may last more than a few minutes, or go away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort, but women are more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Women who experience any of these signs should call 911 and get to a hospital right away.

“The Legacy at Home is dedicated to ensuring our clients are surrounded by a team that is constantly working towards their success,” said Charlene Bishop, administrator of The Legacy at Home. “Many of those we work with have a prior history of heart problems, and because of this we find it necessary to take an aggressive approach to making sure our clients are successful. It’s with this in mind that The Legacy at Home has extended our awareness and prevention efforts to include team members of The Legacy Senior Communities. Those we serve look to us as an example and we hope to show them how important we take this topic. Recently, we even organized and ran blood-pressure checks and exercise classes for team members across the organization and plan to continue initiatives which will benefit associates in the future.

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