Women & Heart Health: How to Prevent Heart Disease
As you go about your busy daily life, you make sure to take care of your family, your career, and your home – but do you make time to take care of your heart?
Your heart health should be a top priority. Heart disease is the number one killer in women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. Here are some specific tips for women that will decrease your risk of heart disease:
- Know your numbers. Blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure are just a few numbers to get into the habit of checking. Having high blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol means you could be on your way to being diagnosed with heart disease. Before it’s too late, make sure your numbers are on track.
- Commit to a heart-healthy diet. Load up on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fiber, and lean meats and fish. These foods will better your cholesterol levels, decrease blood pressure, and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which will cut down your risk of heart disease. Cutting back on salt will also help, since too much sodium in your diet can contribute to heart disease.
- Stay active. Stepping up your workout routine improves heart function, strengthens muscles, keeps bones strong, and even helps your skin. Staying active or increasing your activity rate will lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, taking more stress off your heart. The more you stay active, the more your heart can build its strength by pumping blood.
- Reduce stress. For many women, this can be harder than all of the above-mentioned tips. With the weight of the world on your shoulders, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day problems. Learn to recognize the stressors in your life and practice lowering stress levels using meditation, yoga, or breathing techniques. Light a candle or take a deep breath and count to ten (twice!).
Making lifestyle changes isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary if you want to avoid heart disease. Surround yourself with friends and family who will support you, and speak to your doctor about any concerns you might have about your current heart health. Like anything worth having, there will be good and bad days – but the results are more than worth it.