Heart Health – Aging with grace and strength

Posted by GPWHC on 19 February 2018

It’s no secret that heart disease is the number one killer of all women, even more than all cancers combined. Women who get heart disease are more likely than men to have an increased incidence of heart failure and heart attack. In order to stay healthy and vibrant with each passing year, women need to pay special attention to their heart health.

The best strategy to prevent heart disease at any age begins with lifestyle. Heart disease is 80-90% preventable by following a handful of lifestyle changes. These include following a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise and maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and effectively managing stress.

It sounds easy enough; eat a well-balanced diet each day. But do we follow this? A heart healthy diet includes whole grains, poultry and fish, nuts and beans and a variety of fruits and vegetables. You will want to limit saturated fats in your diet as they can contribute to high cholesterol. Too much cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup and heart attacks.

It’s also important to note that women who have diabetes are more likely to develop heart disease, and have a greater chance of having a heart attack or stroke. High blood sugar, high blood pressure and high cholesterol all contribute to cardiovascular disease. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes you can protect your heart by managing your blood glucose along with your blood pressure and cholesterol. Medications, proper diet and exercise can decrease the effects of cardiovascular disease.

Most women don’t get nearly enough exercise to keep their heart healthy. It’s recommended you exercise 3-4 times a week, with each session lasting at least 30 minutes. Take your dog for a walk, go for sledding with your kids, or sign up for a yoga class. The possibilities are endless! As with any exercise, it’s best to check with your doctor before starting a new routine. Regular exercise not only helps you lose weight, it also improves your cholesterol and keeps your heart strong and healthy.

As women age it’s common to gain weight, especially around the midsection. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for a healthy heart. It’s recommended to have a body fat percentage between 21% and 32%. If your body fat percentage is greater than 32%, you are putting yourself at risk for heart disease. If you are having a hard time losing weight, make an appointment with your health care provider for suggestions on healthy ways to lose weight.

Quit smoking now! Lung disease isn’t the only hazard of smoking. Those who smoke are twice as likely to have a heart attack as non-smokers. Smoking is a major cause of coronary heart disease, which leads to heart attacks. The sooner you quit smoking, the better. Your lungs and heart will thank you!

Women tend to stress more than men and this can cause both physical and mental stress. It’s important for women to find ways to de-stress in their daily lives. Maybe this involves getting some fresh air, a massage, or calling a good friend. Whatever works to calm you, is good for you. Too much stress can increase your breathing and heart rate which raises blood pressure, making your heart work harder. Chronic stress can also weaken your immune system. Talk to your doctor about stress management and effective ways that could help you.

Women of all ages should take heart disease seriously. If you are under the age of 65, and have a history of heart disease, you need to be aware of the risk factors and ways to reduce the risk of heart disease. Though there are certain medications that can help manage heart disease, it’s best to make an appointment with your healthcare provider before taking any over the counter medications.

Growing older is inevitable, be sure to grow old with grace and a strong heart!





Past Posts

Do I have the Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression?
Heart Health – Aging with grace and strength
HPV & Cervical Cancer
Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
Biotin (Vitamin B7) - May Interfere with Lab Tests
Overactive Bladder & Menopause
Breastfeeding Benefits for Moms
Adjusting to Life with a Newborn
Zika Virus – 2017 Update
What Are My Birth Control Options?
Date Rape – It’s Not Your Fault
Menopause: Symptoms & Solutions
Endometriosis – What Is It & What Are Your Options?
A Day In the Life Of An Anorexic
I had an abnormal pap smear what does this mean?
What is a hysterectomy?
Osteoporosis-Big word, bigger problem
End of the Year
Your Teen's Sex Life
It's a difficult topic-Sexual assault
After the baby
Stress and your health
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month
September Cancer Awareness Month
What is menopause?
Teen Eating Disorders
Menstrual Cycles
Zika virus in the news
Health benefits of breastfeeding your baby
Exercising While Pregnant

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