Why Moms Need to Think About Heart Health

Let’s be honest, mamas: When you’ve been up for a midnight feeding and then again for an early-morning breakfast, coordinating activities, packing lunches, balancing skinned knees and potty training, it can be hard to think about your own health. 

It might seem strange to talk about blood pressure and stroke while your children are still in diapers, but you’d be surprised to learn just how important it is. Cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of women — including new moms

Fortunately, there are steps we can take today to protect us for the rest of our lives. Keep reading to learn some basic facts about heart disease and stroke, and find out what you can do to make sure you’re healthy and here for your kids for many years to come!

Women are at higher risk for stroke.

High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke, and women are at increased risk — especially during pregnancy and after menopause, and particularly women of color. Hormonal birth control, migraines with aura, and smoking are also associated with a higher risk of stroke. Anytime is a good time to start assessing your risk factor and making healthy changes.

Stroke and heart disease aren’t age-exclusive.

We tend to think of high blood pressure and stroke as something that happens to “old” people, but they can happen to anyone. Make sure to get regular preventive health care to keep an eye on any potential risk factors. 

Pregnancy can increase your risk.

Have you ever wondered why your prenatal care provider pays so much attention to blood pressure? Hypertension (high blood pressure) and preeclampsia can be risky for both you and your baby. It’s just one of the many reasons that good prenatal care is important for every pregnancy.

Stroke presents differently in women and men.

When someone is having a stroke, time is incredibly important. The faster they can get to treatment, the better their odds of recovery. Unfortunately, women may not experience the well-known stroke symptoms like a drooping face, numbness and ability to talk. General weakness and fatigue; disorientation, confusion or memory problems; and nausea or vomiting can all be stroke symptoms in women. Know the signs, and don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Prevention can start at any age.

Health at every age affects our health in old age! Eating a heart-healthy diet, getting physical activity, and managing risk factors like stress now (particularly after the year we’ve all had) will help your body stay healthy years from now.

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Ruggish is a proud supporter of the American Heart Association’s Life is Why campaign.

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