Women and Heart Disease Risk Factors

Question:            What are the risk factors for women?

Answer:  

 Knowing your numbers such as cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body mass index is an important part of heart health.  Equally as important is to know the risk factors that you have control and the ones you cannot control.  Imagine below these two columns as a mathematical formula:

 RISK FACTORS THAT CAN BE MANAGED                                RISK FACTORS YOU CAN’T CONTROL

High Blood Pressure                                                                                                     Age

Smoking                                                                                                                         Gender

High Blood Cholesterol                                                                                                Heredity (Family History)

Lack of Regular Activity                                                                                               Race

Obesity or Overweight                                                                                                 Previous Heart Attack

Diabetes                                                                                                                        Previous Stroke

Risk factors that you cannot control have been pre-determined.  On that side of the equation, it remains constant.  The other side is a different story.  You do have control.  Your environment and its surroundings allow this side of the equation workable.  Simply put, if you have 50% of the risk factors that you cannot control, it only takes one factor from the controllable side to off balance and causes a higher risk for heart disease.

Let’s discuss these manageable risk factors for women:

  • Blood Pressure is a major risk factor. When your blood pressure is normal, you will reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys.
     
  • Controlling your cholesterol allows a reduction of clog arteries. Thereby preventing plaque build -up which provides proficient blood flow.
     
  • Reducing blood sugar will lessen the possibility of damage to the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.
     
  • Regular activity is the most rewarding gift you can give to your body. During exercise, your blood flow is directed to your muscles and away from areas not doing much such as your digestive tract. This increases blood flow and blood volume returning to your heart. As the volume increases, your left ventricle adapts which causes your heart to hold and ejects more blood.
     
  • When you lose unnecessary weight, you reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and skeleton. This also causes a reduction in blood pressure.
     
  • Eat a healthy diet. Eat foods that are low in saturated fat, Trans fat, and cholesterol. Limit your salt intake. Eat more foods high in omega -3 fatty acids such as fish.
     
  • STOP SMOKING PLEASE!  It is the most preventable cause of death. Chemicals in tobacco damage your blood cells.  Smoking increases the risk of atherosclerosis or plague. Smoking limits the flow of oxygen to your organs. 

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