Are you a woman who tries to do it all? Many women are busier than ever these days juggling their careers, families, children, household duties, social lives and other obligations. When we can’t do it all, many of us feel guilty that we are unable to achieve perfection and balance in our lives. At the times we are most stressed, many of us make unhealthy choices, such as leaving exercise out of our daily routine, eating unhealthy foods and not getting enough rest. Unfortunately, this “superwoman” syndrome can lead to higher blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, higher cholesterol, cancer and importantly, heart disease, which is the number one killer of women in this country.
Heart disease may be prevented and is potentially reversible in many cases, so it’s important to learn how to make the best choices for our future health.
1. Realize that it is ok to not be perfect all the time. You are not alone — ask any other woman, and most likely you will learn that she is experiencing some of the same struggles as you. When you can’t be perfect, learn to laugh through the chaos.
2. Learn stress-relieving techniques. Determine the avenue for stress relief that works best for you. For some people it is going out for a run or scheduling a girls’ night, while others may prefer some time alone. Determine which activities make you happiest and make sure to work some of these into your schedule.
3. Eat healthy foods. Food choices can dramatically impact the way you feel. Make sure to balance protein, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and good fats in each meal so that your body has the energy it needs to make it through the toughest days.
4. Rest. Make sure to get six to eight hours of rest each night. Although it may be hard to pack this much rest into the day with your hectic schedule, try to rest as much as possible so you are alert and more productive. When you are rested, you can accomplish more, and you feel better overall.
5. Exercise. Try to work exercise into your daily routine. Exercise has been proven to increase energy levels, lower stress and improve mood. If you don’t have time to go out for a morning run, walk up stairs, park at the back of the parking lot, do squats at your desk while on a teleconference or lift hand weights while you are waiting for your child to get ready for school.
All of the recommendations above do not have to be completed at once — at first, try taking small steps toward improving your health. If you have a high-stress lifestyle and think you may be at risk for heart disease, schedule a comprehensive cardiovascular screening at the Emory Women’s Heart Center. Emory Women’s Heart Center nurse practitioners may be able to help you craft a plan to help you reduce stress and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
About Farheen Shirazi, MD
Farheen Shirazi, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Shirazi completed medical school at Morehouse School of Medicine before completing her internship at New York University, her residency at Stanford University and her fellowship at Emory University. She is passionate about teaching patients how to reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke. Her practice encompasses the scope of general cardiology, with a focus on cardiovascular disease prevention and women’s health.
Dr. Shirazi has published in the area of preventive cardiology and is currently working on literature in the field of women’s cardiovascular health.
Dr. Shirazi is board certified in internal medicine and cardiology. She is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Heart Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association and the American College of Cardiology.
Dr. Shirazi sees patients at the Emory Heart & Vascular Center at East Cobb, as well as the Emory Heart & Vascular Center at 1365 Clifton Road.
She enjoys drawing, painting and reading classical literature in her spare time.
About the Emory Women’s Heart Center
The Emory Women’s Heart Center is a unique program dedicated to screening for, preventing and treating heart disease in women. The Center, led by nationally renowned cardiologist Gina Lundberg, MD, provides comprehensive cardiac risk assessments and screenings for patients at risk for heart disease, as well as a full range of treatment options for women already diagnosed with heart disease. Find out if you are at risk for heart disease by scheduling your comprehensive cardiac screening. Call 404-778-7777.