Female wearing red

There is a long list of issues that threaten the health and overall wellbeing of women. Sometimes, it seems easier to ignore all of the potential issues and just hope for the best. Unfortunately, sticking your head in the sand does not typically work for the important issues in life. The truth is that ignoring the possibility of some health issues – such as heart disease – puts you at a much higher risk for developing that health problem.

Ignoring potential health issues also means that you may be missing out on opportunities to prevent yourself from getting sick. The fast pace of modern life can make it difficult to slow down long enough to pay attention to preventing problems with your health. Leaving your health on the backburner for too long will eventually put you in a situation where your poor health demands your attention. If you take the time now to learn about ways you can prevent serious disease, you can potentially add years to your life.

One of the most prevalent health issues for women – heart disease – can be prevented in many cases. There are some surprisingly simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) is on a mission to help women learn about heart disease and the steps for prevention. National Wear Red Day is a simple and powerful way that the AHA empowers women to take control of their heart health by bringing the facts about women and heart disease to the forefront.

Wear Red Day

Wear Red Day is an initiative that the American Heart Association started to raise awareness about heart disease in women. The Go Red for Women campaign helps bring awareness to the risk factors of cardiovascular disease for women and provides information about heart disease prevention. People across the United States are encouraged to go red by wearing red clothing on February 4, 2022. The AHA also encourages donations on Wear Red Day to fund continuing research about cardiovascular disease in women. You can participate by wearing red or donating online or at one of the retailers that are part of the go red initiative.

Leading Killer of Women in the United States

The focus on heart disease and women is important because heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease accounts for one in five female deaths. National Wear Red Day and other efforts from the AHA have increased public knowledge about women and heart disease. However, there is still a large percentage of women who do not recognize that heart disease is the leading cause of death among women. Other health concerns like cancer and Covid are serious and cause for alarm, but heart disease still poses the biggest threat to the health of women in the United States.  

Issues That Come with Heart Disease

The phrase ‘heart disease’ is often used as a broad description that includes several serious issues. Coronary heart disease, heart failure, and heart attack are all issues that are commonly lumped into the category of heart disease. Heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure are often thought to go hand-in-hand. The reality is that the cardiovascular system is complex and can be impacted by many factors. If you develop heart disease, artery disease, or any of the other related issues, it can lead to serious consequences such as a heart attack.

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Disease

Many of the signs and symptoms of heart disease are the same for both men and women – but some are unique to women. Nausea or vomiting, jaw or neck pain, and shortness of breath are potential symptoms of heart disease for men and women and can be warning signs of a heart attack. In addition to these symptoms, women may experience upper back pain, fainting, indigestion, and extreme fatigue.  

Risk Factors of Heart Disease

Several factors put you at increased risk for heart disease. Risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and heredity. Lifestyle choices like eating an unhealthy diet, living a sedentary lifestyle, and using tobacco also increase your chances of developing heart disease. Poor oral health and heart disease are also linked. It is important to understand the risk factors so you can take every step possible to prevent heart disease.

Empower Yourself by Taking Preventative Measures

Heart disease can be prevented in many situations. You can take preventative measures related to your lifestyle to minimize your risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Improving your diet, starting an exercise program, and cutting out tobacco products are three straightforward steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Another practical step you can take to help prevent heart disease is to improve your oral health. Healthy teeth and a healthy mouth are more than signs of good oral hygiene—a healthy smile shows that you are protecting your systemic health as well. Oral hygiene and heart health are connected, which means that caring for your oral health is another way to take preventative measures against heart disease.

Mouth-Body Connection

The link between oral hygiene and heart health is part of the mouth-body connection. What happens inside of your mouth can have an impact on your entire body. Gum disease or an infection in your mouth, for example, can spread to other areas in your body and lead to systemic problems like cardiovascular disease and stroke. A common issue like periodontal disease—gingivitis and periodontitis—is associated with a higher risk for certain types of strokes. The good news about this element of the mouth-body connection is that a quality daily oral care routine combined with regular dental cleanings can help prevent infection and periodontal disease in many cases. 

Oral health and heart disease go hand in hand, which means that the way you care for your oral health can directly impact the overall quality of your physical health. Research published in the British Medical Journal found that people who reported poor oral hygiene were more likely to experience a cardiovascular disease event. Caring properly for your oral health is one of the most important and simplest steps you can take to protect your heart health. 

Overall systemic health and your heart

Your overall systemic health can impact and be impacted by various areas of your body. For example, high blood pressure is a systemic issue because it impacts the entire body – including your heart. The condition of your oral health can also become a systemic issue. An infection that starts in your mouth can travel throughout your body and turn into an infection that affects your heart. The link between your oral health and heart disease should help you make proper oral care a top priority.

How Oral Health Impacts Heart Health

It can be difficult to understand how oral health can impact heart health. This is especially true because you go to a dentist for your oral care and a doctor for your physical healthcare. You may go to different professionals for oral care and physical care, but your dentist and doctor can work hand-in-hand when needed. If your dentist discovers an infection in your mouth, the treatment for that infection can help protect your overall systemic health by preventing the infection from spreading. What seems like an infection that only impacts your mouth has the potential to spread through your bloodstream to your heart and other areas.  

When you think of oral care and heart health as completely separate things, it can cause you to minimize the importance of proper oral care. However, when you realize that caring for your oral health is another way to care for your heart health, it can help you put the proper level of importance on oral hygiene and preventative care.

Visit Your Dentist  

The relationship between oral health and systemic health should prompt you to prioritize routine dental visits along with your physical checkups. During routine dental visits, your dentist will examine the condition of your gums for signs of infection or disease. In most situations, your dentist can provide effective treatment for periodontal disease, so both your oral and heart health are protected. Getting to the dentist every six months is the standard recommendation for maintaining good oral health.

If you are convinced about the importance of routine dental visits but do not have a dentist, Smile Generation can help. Smile Generation has a network of trusted dentists that can help you with the process of protecting your oral and physical health. The find-a-dentist tool allows you to search for a dentist in your area who meets a set of criteria that you choose. For example, if you struggle with gum disease, you can search for a periodontist in your area who can help you get your gums healthy once again and prevent gum disease from becoming a systemic issue that impacts your heart.  

A quick search can provide you with the information of a Smile Generation dentist who can provide you with the dental care you need.

Your heart health and oral health are linked. The research is clear, the way you care for your oral health can impact your heart health over time. Join the American Heart Association and people across the United States on the mission to increase awareness about women and heart disease by wearing red on February 4, 2022. Getting out the information about women and heart disease is something that can literally help save lives.

 

Sources

  • https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/women.htm
  • https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/10/04/6-things-every-woman-should-know-about-heart-health
  • https://www.smilegeneration.com/
  • https://www.smilegeneration.com/dental-office-search
  • https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/STROKEAHA.117.018990
  • https://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c2451
  • https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/11/07/bad-tooth-brushing-habits-tied-to-higher-heart-risk
  • https://www.heart.org/en/
  • https://www.goredforwomen.org
  • https://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c2451