7 Crucial Heart Health Tips for Women ...

In the US, heart disease kills almost one woman a minute, which is why these heart health tips are so important. Roughly 430,000 women lose their lives to heart disease each year, and 42 million women in the US currently have some form of cardiovascular disease. Rather than ignoring the statistics or pledging to find out what you need to do but never actually finding time, spend a few moments looking through these heart health tips. They’ll give you the knowledge you need to make changes within the valuable time window when it really makes a difference.

1. It’s Not an Old Person Disease…

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One of the most important heart health tips is to recognize that it could happen to you. While heart disease risk used to shoot up when a woman reached 55, it’s now a lot more common in younger women, too. As more and more women get diagnosed with obesity and diabetes, their cardiovascular systems suffer. The type of fat that gathers around the abdomen is the type that causes heart disease, and it’s easily accumulated if you consume too many calories with too little exercise. Low estrogen is also a cause, which explains why menopausal women were formerly the most at-risk. Realise that it really could happen to you, and the rest of these heart health tips will really resonate.

2. Heart Attacks Aren’t Spontaneous…

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Most people think of a heart attack as a random one-off event. In actual fact, heart attack symptoms can show up weeks before the actual heart attack. Acute chest pressure and tightness are the most common symptoms, as these signal a complete blockage to one or more of the heart’s arteries. Women also seem to have more atypical symptoms then men – things like excessive fatigue, shortness of breath especially when walking or doing stairs, nausea, back pain and indigestion. Women often ignore these symptoms, putting them down to menopause, stress or being unfit, but they really need to be assessed by a doctor.

3. You Can Work out Your Individual Risk…

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Doctors can easily calculate your individual risk of heart disease by talking to you about some key aspects of your life. Your medical history, your family medical history, your blood pressure, HDL/LDL cholesterol and your weight are all key markers. The more of these that fall into the ‘abnormal’ range, the more chance you have of getting heart disease. Another great way to assess risk is to check the levels of C-reactive protein in the blood.

4. Cholesterol Matters…

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It used to be that if your cholesterol was under 200mg/dL, you were considered low risk. While 200mg/dL is still considered normal, it doesn’t make you low risk anymore. What is more important is your breakdown figures – HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol). HDL levels above 60 are the target, whilst your LDLs should be as low as possible – anything above 130mg/dL is considered bad.

5. Your Mouth Could Hold the Secret…

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Did you know that people with periodontal disease (a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bones) are twice as likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease than those without it? We don’t quite know what links the two, but it’s clear that dental hygiene is important. Some doctors believe that bacteria that causes the gums to inflame does the same to the arteries, or that bacteria from the mouth attaches to plaques in the heart, causing clots. Whatever the link, make sure you get regular dental cleanings and flossings.

6. You Can Turn Back Time…

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If your LDL is bad, don’t fret. In a groundbreaking study, Dr Nissen showed that bringing LDL down to a very low level actually reversed plaque build up. He recommends that for a healthy adult with no risk factors, LDL should be kept below 130mg/dL. For an adult with heart disease, it should be no more than 60mg/dL. While most people need statins to reach the very low levels, diet and exercise make a huge difference, too. If you catch your level early enough, it doesn’t mean that you are at risk forever more.

7. Watch Your Ingredients…

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One of the best heart health tips comes from Dr Nissen himself. He advises looking at the ingredients of everything that you buy, and only purchasing foods that are low in salt and trans fats, and avoiding canola oil. If you check everything in the supermarket, you’ll have no chance of consuming anything that will increase your LDL levels, keeping your heart healthy. He also recommends seeing eating out as an occasional treat – not because of the cost or calories, but because you can’t see what is being used to prepare your food, or how much salt or fat is in it.

Hopefully, these heart health tips will have you thinking about your own heart a bit more. It seems heart disease is becoming a very real risk to a lot of people, and our love of unhealthy food is doing us no good! Keep these tips in mind, and your heart is a lot more likely to stay healthy. Do you know any great heart tips or facts? I’d love to hear them!

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