Heart disease is the number one killer of American women. That’s it, that’s the truth. One in four American women will die of heart disease. Women, more often than men, die as a result of a heart attack. Older women are more likely to get heart disease, but women of all ages should be concerned. It’s what you do today that will help to protect you from this killer later in life.
The most common form of heart disease in women is in the coronary artery. Over time, plaque builds up on the walls of the arteries that carry blood to the heart. This buildup causes the arteries to narrow and harden keeping the heart from getting all the blood that it needs. If a blood clot develops it may completely block the blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack.
So how do you prevent this from happening? By taking proactive steps now.
• Know your blood pressure. Years of unmonitored or untreated high blood pressure can lead to heart disease.
• If you smoke, quit.
• Get regular checkups, with blood pressure monitoring and testing for diabetes. People with diabetes have a greater chance of having heart disease than those who do not.
• Get your cholesterol tested and know your numbers. High blood cholesterol can clog your arteries and restrict blood flow. If your numbers are high, discuss with your doctor how you can lower them. You may be able to lower your cholesterol levels with diet and exercise or your doctor may prescribe a medication.
• Maintain a healthy weight. Eat a diet low in fat and high in vegetables and fruits. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
• Limit your alcoholic beverage intake. If you drink, control your consumption to one drink per day. Avoid drinking binges, which accounts to 4 drinks for women in a session.
• Learn to cope with stress. Positive affirmations, a healthy diet and a regular exercise program will work to your advantage to relieve stress.
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