Heart disease is often referred to as “the silent killer.” Although it does not get as much attention as breast cancer has in the past few years, it is still a substantial health problem for women as they get older. However, in the U.S. 1 in 29 women will die of breast cancer whereas more than 1 in 3 will die of heart disease (http://www.everydayhealth.com/womens-health/raising-awareness-of-womens-heart-health-issues.aspx).
The American Heart Association has even attempted to match the breast cancer pink ribbon campaign with their own Go Red for Women campaign to raise awareness of what is the number one killer of women in the country (https://www.goredforwomen.org/home/about-heart-disease-in-women/facts-about-heart-disease/). With that in mind, there are several things that you need to know about heart health both in terms of risk factors and preventative measures.
Common risk factors
For both men and women, there are several common risk factors for heart disease. These include a patient’s weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels as well as family history of heart disease and if the patient smokes regularly (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease/art-20046167). However, women have specific risk factors that can increase their chances, including:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Complications from pregnancy
- Broken heart syndrome
In addition, women are unfortunately less likely to seek out medical attention for a heart attack than men are. They tend to try to “tough it out” more without going to the hospital, often with fatal results.
Heart disease doesn’t have to be some looming portent on the horizon. There are ways to prevent this particular health condition. In addition to staving off heart disease, these will also help you maintain a healthy weight, an important factor. These preventative measures include:
- Regular exercise. Even if it is just twenty minutes or so of walking, at least four to five times a week, this can go a long way to helping you.
- Eating healthy. Cut back significantly on fatty foods as well as those that are high in sugar. Also, watch your salt intake. Many processed foods have high levels of sodium that will ultimately contribute to heart disease.