Mother's Day good time to talk family health history

Heart disease, stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women annually

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – To honor Mother's Day this year, News4Jax spoke with a cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic about tips to keep moms ahead of any heart issues.

Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, according to American Heart Association. The Go Red for Women movement encourages women and their families to take action and live a healthier life. 

Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to talk to moms about their health and to learn about problems that could run in your family. Dr. Amy Pollack, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, said knowing one’s family history is very important. It could considerably help control things like blood pressure.

“Knowing your blood pressure, knowing what your cholesterol is, taking steps to eat a heart-healthy diet, which is what our grandmothers tell us to eat; about five servings of fruits and veggies a day, low in saturated fats low in processed foods,” Pollack said.

Doctors said that diet and exercise are huge preventative measures when it comes to keeping a healthy heart.

“It doesn't have to be a half an hour of hard cardio kickboxing,” Pollack said. “It can be just a walk, dancing, bike riding, swimming, whatever it is you like to do -- just get it in and be active. That's the most important part.”
Knowing the symptoms associated with heart disease is also crucial because women have different symptoms than men.

“Sometimes for women with heart disease it could be shortness of breath or a vague sense of discomfort,” Pollack said. “Sometimes it's nausea or indigestion that comes on with activity, which can be a sign of heart disease.”

Doctors said that even if someone feels healthy, it's important to start getting their cholesterol checked out at a young age.

“For women, even around the age of 21, you should have at least a one-time cholesterol check,” Pollack said. “Then about every five years if you're healthy.”

To be a part of the Go Red movement, you can attend the Go Red for Women luncheon, emceed by News4Jax’s Melanie Lawson. The luncheon will be at the Florida Blue at 10 a.m. Friday. Click here for more information about the Go Red movement.

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Lifetime Floridian anchors weekends and reports weekdays on issues in Nassau and Baker counties and beyond.