A Woman's Guide to Heart Health
In America, 1 out of every 3 deaths in women is caused by cardiovascular disease, making it the number one cause of death for this demographic. Lower your risk of heart disease by committing to follow these steps.
Eat Your Heart Out
A balanced diet is essential for maintaining your heart health. Sodium-rich foods can drive your blood pressure up, so try to pick out foods low in salt. Also, choose foods that will improve your cholesterol. Opt for foods with healthy fats, such as avocados and fatty fish, and avoid foods overloaded with saturated and trans fats.
Eat the rainbow to get a wide variety of nutrients from your diet. When grocery shopping, try to stick to the perimeter of the store where they have all of the fresh foods. Processed foods can contain excessive amounts of sodium, sugar, and unhealthy fats, so eat these in moderation.
Get the Blood Pumping
The American Heart Association recommends getting 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise a week. If you’re new to the fitness world, try out different workouts to find what you like. Fitting cardio into your schedule doesn’t have to be boring! If you don’t enjoy running, try getting your cardio through a dance class or even by jumping rope. Make yourself a playlist of your favorite songs and put your heart to work! Remember to always consult your doctor before making changes to your fitness regimen.
Keep Your Health in Check
If you have any existing health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, be sure to take your medications as prescribed. “Measure your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels often, and speak with your doctor if you have concerns about your health,” advises Patricia Sammarelli, MD, physician at CHI St. Joseph Health Primary Care West Villa Maria in Bryan, Texas.
Know Your Risk
To determine how often you should receive health screenings for cardiovascular disease, your doctor will consider your risk factors. Some common risk factors of heart disease include a family history of the condition, being post-menopausal, and being overweight or obese.
Be sure to schedule annual health screenings with your CHI St. Joseph Health primary care physician to keep your heart health in check. If necessary, they can refer you to a CHI St. Joseph Health cardiologist for further testing and medical care. To learn more about how heart disease affects women and what you can do about it, check out the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign.
FDA | Heart Health for Women
CDC | Lower Your Risk for the Number 1 Killer of Women
American Heart Association | How to Prevent Heart Disease After Menopause
American Heart Association | Common Myths About Heart Disease
American Heart Association | Facts About Heart Disease in Women
American Heart Association | Eating the Rainbow
Harvard Health Publishing | The truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between
American Heart Association | Risk Factors
American Heart Association | Weight and Heart Disease