Married Women and Heart Disease

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There are many ways women can cut their risk of cardiac disease. And, according to the Huffington Post, having a man around is one of them.

So it’s only fitting men strutted their stuff alongside women at this year’s Heart Truth Fashion Show (an annual event hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation to raise awareness about this leading cause of female death).

Colin Mochrie of “Whose Line is it, Anyway?,” former Toronto Maple Leaf Jim McKenny and “Entertainment Tonight” host Rick Campanelli strutted down the runway alongside fellow Canadians like Elisha Cuthbert, “Breakfast Television”‘s Dina Pugliese and Gabrielle Miller of “Corner Gas.”

“Men have an important role in supporting — no, encouraging women to put their health first,” says Heart and Stroke Foundation CEO Bobbe Wood of having men walk the catwalk for the first time.

Experts attribute the reduced risk of heart disease to the lifestyle women in long-term relationships live. Living with a partner provides emotional and medial support; women in long-term relationships or marriages binge drink less, worry less about finances and are generally happier.

However, Mochrie notes an unhealthy marriage can put undue pressure on women to take care of others instead of themselves.

“Women do a lot. They’re nurturers and they tend to put families and friends before their own concerns,” he says. “So it’s up to the men in their lives to make sure they’re taking care of themselves, going to regular check-ups and eating well.”

Many women’s heart problems go undiagnosed because they can’t recognize the signs or describe them differently from men.

Mochrie says his mother-in-law, a stroke survivor, suffered because she lacked awareness.

“My mother-in-law unfortunately didn’t realize she had a stroke until a month after. A lot of damage had been done by the time she was diagnosed. So awareness is the number one thing,” he adds.

Warning signs of a heart attack include chest pain, pain in the arm, neck, jaw, shoulder or back, sweating, nausea, difficulty breathing and anxiety.

Signs of a stroke include sudden weakness, numbness, loss of muscle strength in the face or arms and legs, dizziness, trouble speaking and vision problems.

Prevention is another key to heart health: Stay smoke-free, eat seven to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit every day, exercise for 30 minutes a day and monitor your blood pressure regularly.

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