Roadmap to a Healthy Heart for Women
Let’s say life is a road trip. And, let’s say a healthy heart is one of the major destinations: Heart disease--not breast cancer--is the number one threat to a woman’s life.
To keep you heading in the right direction, follow these targeted heart disease prevention guidelines. Read the road signs and sample a few of the recommendations.
- Try to get at least 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) of moderate physical activity every week to improve your health. Break down the 150 minutes into as many smaller sessions as needed. Walk around your neighborhood, use the stairs, ride a bike--it all adds up to lower heart risks.
- Rev up on fish. Eat salmon, tuna, or mackerel at least twice a week.
- Slow down on fats, salt, and alcohol. You can lower your LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol by cutting saturated fat to 5 or 6 percent of your daily calories, and trans fats to as low as possible.
- Limit sodium to no more than 1 teaspoon per day, and alcohol to one drink.
- Quit smoking. Ask your doctor about nicotine replacement, counseling, and medication to help you quit. Over time, you will gradually have the same risk for heart disease as a nonsmoker.
- Pass on folic acid, hormone therapy, and antioxidants as preventives. These won’t protect you from heart disease.
Check Your Numbers
The American Heart Association recommends getting some specific tests to get a picture of your heart health. Work with your doctor to follow this testing schedule:
- Blood pressure: Each regular health care visit or at least once every two years starting at age 20
- Cholesterol: Every four to six years starting at age 20
- Weight/body mass index: All doctor visits
- Waist circumference: As needed
- Blood glucose: Every three years starting at age 45
The Heart of the Matter
On the hunt for a heart health expert? Let us help. Check out our heart and vascular specialists.