According to Dr. Randolph P. Martin, Medical Director of Cardiovascular Imaging at Piedmont Heart Institute in Atlanta, Georgia, Heart disease in women “…kills five to eight times more women than breast cancer”. This totals approximately 500,000 women per year. Many people think heart disease is primarily a killer of men but obviously women are just as susceptible. Here are 5 things every woman can do to prevent heart disease.
Cigarette chemicals cause narrowing of the arteries also known as atherosclerosis. This results in more stress on the heart especially if women take birth control pills at the same time and even more-so if they are over thirty-five years old. Interestingly, after one year of quitting (even if you were only a ‘social smoker’) risk of heart disease decreases dramatically.
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and is an acronym to remind women that eating foods low in cholesterol, fat and salt can all contribute to a healthy heart. This means ‘live foods’ not packaged, sugary, syrup laced or cured foods that mask themselves as ‘healthy’. Live foods consist of fresh fruits and vegetables (juicing is a great practice) along with whole grains and low fat dairy. Certain fishes and legumes are also excellent sources of heart healthy proteins in place of red meat.
You do not have to spend thousands of dollars on a gym membership to prevent heart disease all you have to do is make sure you get your heart rate pumping for about thirty-minutes per day. This will work out your muscles, lungs and especially your heart making them stronger and less vulnerable to disease.
Don’t Wait on your Weight
Keeping your weight at a healthy level will considerably prevent heart disease. As women age they tend to store more fat due to hormone re-adjustment and the heart suffers. By monitoring your BMI (body mass index) you will be able to determine what your optimal weight should be according to how tall you are. A BMI of twenty-five or above indicates a possible risk for heart disease. Also, if a woman is very fit her muscles can be heavier than her fat. Waist measurement (just above the belly button) is also a good tool to determine abdominal fat. A waist measurement greater than thirty-five inches may mean you are at risk.
Check under the Hood
A medical checkup every two years is mandatory for heart disease prevention in women. Blood pressure should be at about 120/80, cholesterol should be in the 130-150 range and diabetes markers should also be screened.
Assuming you are healthy is not enough. Use these 5 things every woman can do to prevent heart disease and your improved quality of life will be well worth it.