Are You At Risk for Heart Disease?

Heart disease is not only for men. Know your risk.

By FamilyTime


Heart disease may be the primary cause of death for American women, but that does not mean there is nothing we can do about it. On the contrary. There are a number of ways to reduce risk factors.

We may hear more about diseases such as breast and ovarian cancer, but the truth is that more of us die of heart disease than of all types of cancer put together -- and lump into that number diabetes, stroke, and  Alzheimer’s!

It's not all bad news. We can lower our chance of getting heart disease when we understand the risk factors and then do something about them. It's not out of reach.

Healthful Behaviors
Get active! Lose weight if necessary and increase your physical activity. Stop smoking and monitor your intake of alcohol.

Eat a good, healthful diet that includes an abundance of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins (chicken, fish, soy products). Cut back on fats and sweets. Drink plenty of water and non-caffeinated beverages.

Increase your exercise program or begin one. You've heard it before: Just get out there and get going! It's not hard, does not have to be regimented and you can have fun while you exercise.

Reduce the stress in your life. Take yoga, learn the right way to breathe deeply and do it often, meditate. Don't put off the fun things in life: get together with friends, travel, rent a funny movie, read a good book, play with your kids. 

Risk Factors
You may believe you do not need to worry about the risk factors for heart disease, but everyone should be aware of them, even young women.

There are some risk factors we cannot control. For instance, if you are over 55, have a family history of cardiovascular disease, are post-menopausal, have no ovaries, or have already had a heart attack, your risk is somewhat greater than it is for others.

Other proven risks include smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and a history of complicated pregnancies. Doctors also believe stress, high triglycerides, and heavy alcohol intake contribute.

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have. Studies show that women tend to minimize their symptoms, believing that heart attacks are more apt to happen to men. Not so! Take your health seriously.

But don't be too serious about your life! Enjoy it.