February is American Heart Month, here are some important facts about heart and vascular disease in women.
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease and stroke are women’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers and it is important to know what puts you at risk for developing these diseases.
High blood pressure causes our hearts to work harder than normal which can damage the heart and arteries over time, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Women are at risk of developing high blood pressure if they are 20 or more pounds over a healthy weight for their height and build, have a family history of high blood
pressure, take certain types of oral contraceptives, are pregnant or are age 55
Cholesterol, a wax-like substance found in your arteries can create plaque buildup on the walls of your blood vessels which can restrict blood flow to the heart and increase your risk of clots, heart attack and stroke. Eating a healthy diet enriched with fruits,
vegetables, and protein can keep your cholesterol under control. Stay away from
foods high in saturated and trans fats which produce high levels of
Being overweight and living a sedentary lifestyle can also increase one’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Being more active is one of the best things you can do to improve your overall health and quality of life. Exercise helps you to maintain a healthy weight, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and can help to prevent or
control diabetes, which puts you at a higher rate of developing heart attack,
stroke and peripheral artery disease.
In addition, exercise is also important for bone health; it reduces stress and depression by increasing your hormone serotonin which is responsible for mood control, and keeps your mind sharp as you get older.
Smoking is the top preventable cause of early death in women. Women who smoke increase their chances of developing heart disease, heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease. Once you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease and stroke starts to gradually drop until it is as low as a nonsmoker’s risk.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the always the best way to stay healthy and prevent heart and cardiovascular disease.