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A Guide to Women’s Heart Health: Tips for Avoiding Disease

Only 50% of women know that heart disease is the leading cause of death among women, according to an American Heart Association survey. Women tend to worry about breast cancer, even though you’re six times more likely to die of heart disease. Not only does heart disease kill men and women equally, women often have different symptoms than men and are at a greater risk of death following a heart attack.  

At Advanced Cardiovascular Care, our team is dedicated to providing unparalleled cardiovascular care, including helping female patients understand and control their risk of heart disease. We’ve put together practical strategies you can implement into your daily life to protect your heart.

Tip #1 – Watch your weight

Looking good in your swimsuit isn’t the only reason to control your weight. Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for heart disease. Not only does excess weight put stress on your heart, but carrying too many extra pounds increases your risk for high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, both of which negatively impact heart health.

Tip #2 – Quit smoking

Gone are the days when smoking was considered chic and harmless. Today we know that the nicotine in cigarettes takes a toll on many aspects of your health, including raising your heart disease risk. Take steps to quit smoking for good.

Tip #3 – Manage health conditions

Diabetes, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure are just a few health conditions that raise your risk for heart disease. Your chance of heart problems goes up even further if these conditions are poorly controlled. It’s important that you work with your healthcare providers to effectively manage health conditions.

Tip #4 – Eat a nutritious diet

It’s no secret, diets that are low in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars -- and high in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains -- lower your risk for heart disease. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is an example of a heart-healthy eating pattern. Shaping up your diet not only protects your heart, it lowers your risk of all chronic diseases.

Tip #5 – Move your body

Habitually camping out on the couch is bad news for your heart. If you loathe the idea of getting exercise, find something you enjoy that gets you moving, like swimming, biking, or rock climbing. You’re more likely to stick to it if you enjoy the activity.

Exercise improves circulation, strengthens the heart, improves cholesterol, and lowers blood pressure. Getting just 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of week is enough to boost your heart health. You can even break it up into three 10-minute increments throughout the day. The most important thing is to get moving.

Tip #6 – Know the early warning signs

Women most commonly report experiencing a sudden onset of symptoms in the weeks and months leading up to a heart attack. Watch out for:

Don’t ignore symptoms that something is amiss with your heart. Make an appointment with Dr. Bokhari right away if you experience early warning signs of heart danger.

Tip #7 – Get screened

Dr. Bokhari can conduct a cardiovascular screening to assess your risk for heart disease. The screening involves tests to evaluate cholesterol levels, blood sugar, blood pressure, and other markers that impact your heart. It also evaluates your lifestyle risk.

You should start annual screening at the age of 40 if you’re overweight or have other risk factors. Even if you’re in excellent health, routine checkups every three years are recommended for women aged 45 and over.

Heart disease is largely preventable. Take your heart health into your hands today to ensure a healthier tomorrow. Call our office or book online today to see Dr. Bokhari.

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