Did you know that someone has a heart attack in the United States every 40 seconds? This is according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which estimates that one in every four deaths in America are prompted by heart disease. Heart disease is a particularly severe crisis for women because more women than men die from heart disease every year. The most common form of heart disease is narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries. This is called Coronary Artery Disease. It happens slowly, over time, and it debilitates health by obstructing the arteries which supply blood to the heart itself. Almost two-thirds of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Even without displaying any symptoms, thousands of women are at risk of developing heart disease for a number of reasons.
Risk Factors for Heart Disease:
Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. They can also increase the chances that an existing disease will get worse. Some risk factors, such as age and family history of heart disease, can’t be changed. However, some risk factors such as diet or sedentary lifestyle can be controlled and modified. For women, age especially becomes a risk factor at 55. After menopause, women are more likely to get heart disease because the body’s production of estrogen drops. Women who have gone through early menopause, either naturally or because of a hysterectomy, are twice as likely to develop heart disease as women who haven’t gone through menopause. To reduce your chances of getting heart disease, it’s important to:
1. Know your Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is a red flag that your body is vulnerable to heart disease and other complications. Check it as often as you can.
2. Eat Healthy: Junk food is a catalyst for heart disease because unhealthy fats clog and block the arteries which supply blood to the heart.
3. Stay Fit: Being overweight or obese puts a physical strain on the normal functioning of the heart. Physical fitness allows the heart to function efficiently.
4. Manage Stress: Stress is like gasoline on a fire when it comes to heart health. High stress prompts high blood pressure, which! in turn can trigger heart failure.
5. Check in With the Doc: Routine physicals are the best way to learn whether your body is in bad shape, or whether or not you have symptoms of heart disease. The
sooner you start routine medical exams with your doctor, the likelier you will detect heart disease before it hurts you.
Like all matters that have to do with health, prevention is far better than cure when it comes to dealing with heart disease. The older a woman gets, the more likely she is to get heart disease. However, women of all ages should take initiative and do what they can to lead healthy lifestyles. Instead of waiting to treat heart disease through expensive medication or painful surgery, make the commitment today to treat your body like the temple it natura! lly is. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain from deciding to be healthy, happy and strong.