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