Carrie Fisher’s Heart Attack Is a Warning for Women
December 27, 2016 Dr. Neal Barnard
Carrie Fisher, famous for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies, died today after suffering a heart attack last week. In the coming days—as fans celebrate her life and mourn her untimely death—I hope that her heart attack will help create an urgently needed conversation about women’s heart health.
What are the signs of a heart attack women should look for? The American Heart Association says that the most common symptom for women is chest pain or discomfort. Women are also more likely than men to experience symptoms including shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
While it’s important to know these signs, I’d say it’s equally important to know how to reduce your risk for a heart attack in the first place. Heart disease causes most heart attacks. It is also the No. 1 killer of women, causing a woman to die every minute.
How can women reduce heart disease risk? Don’t smoke. Stay active. Eat a low-fat, plant-based diet and avoid meat and dairy products to maintain a healthy weight and manage blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
A plant-based diet can also help restore your heart health after a heart attack. Take if from Betty Mizek, who survived a heart attack this April. She recently joined me on the ABC News affiliate in Washington, D.C., to talk about how becoming a Barnard Medical Center patient and transitioning to a plant-based diet has improved her heart health. You can watch her inspiring story here:
Visit PCRM.org/HeartHealth to learn more.
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