How to Prevent Heart Disease in Women

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), one in four women living today has some form of cardiovascular disease. Perhaps more concerning is the fact that since 1984, the number of female deaths from heart disease has exceeded that of males.
Standard Modes of PreventionOnly in the last decade have scientists begun to understand the differences in heart disease between men and women. They’ve found that certain risk factors like depression, smoking, and diabetes may be even more dangerous for women.
Several risk factors for heart disease are the same for men and women, including:
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • a family history of the disease
  • age
  • obesity
  • a sedentary lifestyle
  • drinking too much alcohol
Therefore, standard measures of prevention that apply to men also apply to women, such as:
  • controlling high blood pressure with medications or lifestyle changes
  • keeping cholesterol levels within the recommended range (using medications if necessary)
  • exercising for 30 minutes on most days of the week
  • eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and cutting back on high-fat, high-sugar, and high-sodium items
  • maintaining a healthy weight with a BMI (body mass index) of 25 or less
  • maintaining regular checkups with your doctor
  • using alcohol in moderation (for women, that means only one drink or less per day)
  • adopting coping mechanisms—like meditation, yoga, or simple breathing exercises—that help you deal with stress.

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