One in three women die of heart disease, making it the number one killer of women in the United States. Heart disease kills more people per year than all forms of cancer combined, and yet women still remain unaware of the risks associated with heart disease.
It’s not really our fault. We’re all aware of the fact that men are at risk of heart disease, and we all know the symptoms of a heart attack, right? Not so. Most women are unaware that the National Institutes of Health reported that women can have different symptoms of an impending or occurring heart attack than men. In fact, about one third of women experience no chest pain when having a heart attack.
It’s the number one killer of people in the US, and there is so much that women in particular don’t know.
It’s important that women know about our risk of heart disease, and about the things we can do to prevent heart disease. Here are 10 things you can do to lower your risk of developing heart disease.
Quit smoking – Smoking is the leading cause of heart attacks and other heart diseases. Smoking increases blood pressure and causes hypertension.
Exercise – It doesn’t take much. 30 minutes of moderate physical activity like walking, if done regularly, can prevent heart disease. Get into a routine, make it part of your day, and not only will it help you prevent heart disease on its own, it can knock down some of your other risk factors as well.
Make healthy food choices – A healthy diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as lean meats and other foods that aren’t heavily processed can not only help women prevent heart disease, but it can also help you with the next risk.
Lose weight/maintain a healthy weight – being overweight increases your risk of developing heart disease.
Watch your alcohol intake – consumption of more than one alcoholic beverage per day (for women) increases your risk of heart disease.
Watch out for these risk factors as well.
Diabetes – diabetes greatly increases a woman’s risk of developing heart disease. Keeping your diabetes under control can prevent heart disease.
Metabolic Syndrome (Syndrome X) – more common in post-menopausal women, this syndrome is very similar to type 2 diabetes and carries similar risk factors. If you already have this syndrome, keeping your cholesterol and glucose levels in check can help prevent heart disease.
Cholesterol – lowering your “bad cholesterol” levels can help prevent heart disease.
Stress – Physical stress increases the workload on the heart, but emotional stress, particularly forms of emotional stress that are negative and non-productive, can increase your risk of developing heart disease. Try to prevent it by learning stress management techniques or talking to your doctor about your options.
C-Reactive Protein (CRP) – doctors believe that elevated CRP levels can actually be more of a risk factor for women than men when it comes to heart disease. CRP, like LDL cholesterol levels, is a marker that helps doctors determine your risk of heart disease. You can lower your CRP levels by following the guidelines at the beginning of this article, thereby potentially lowering your risk of developing heart disease.
Heart disease prevention is important, not just for men, but for women as well. Before you begin any diet or exercise plan, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor. Also talk to your doctor about what you can do to prevent heart disease.