Women often think that breast cancer is their biggest risk so they are regularly surprised when they learn that heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined.
So, what’s the key to heart health for women? Let’s take a look at a few things that you should know to keep your heart healthy and strong.
Heart Attacks Present Different For Women
Responsible for every one in four deaths, heart disease in women can sometimes show no symptoms or display symptoms that are easily missed, such as a sore toe. Shortness of breath and back pain are two other symptoms that may not be recognized as heart disease in women. This is one of the reasons that doctors recommend screening for heart disease in women. Early detection can save lives. Heart disease screening should be as regular as a Pap Smear so if you haven’t yet had a screening, ask your doctor.
Stress Increases The Risk
We all know that stress can cause health issues. But, did you know that it can increase your risk of heart disease too? Stress increases exposure to the hormone cortisol. Long-term exposure to cortisol increases blood cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure. These effects can lead to heart disease. Finding ways to effectively lower your stress can help prevent heart disease in the long term.
Get Plenty of Rest
Getting plenty of rest is an important health factor for many reasons but is especially important for women’s heart health. If you aren’t getting six to seven hours of sleep a night, you are at increased risk for high blood pressure, which in turn increases your risk for heart disease. Inadequate sleep can also make it so you don’t have the energy for needed exercise. If you’re finding sleep difficult, cut out your screen time at night or consider a supplement like melatonin.
Get Moving For Your Hearts Sake
It is recommended that women get a minimum of two and a half hours a week of cardio exercise. Cardio exercise is anything that elevates the heart rate. Brisk walks, jogging, swimming, and aerobics are great exercises that could help prevent heart disease in women. You may also consider a weekly dance class that not only gets you moving but allows for creativity and social time as well, two elements that are key to a womans mental health.
Eat Right For Heart Health
Sugar and unhealthy fats are two foods that doctors suggest you should avoid for heart health. Plenty of healthy grains, vegetables, and fruits should be your main focus, with healthy fats such as avocados, cheese, and eggs mixed in for good measure. Fish that are high in omega-3’s such as salmon and mackerel are great protein choices, as in lean beef, skinless chicken, and pork tenderloin.
Managing your stress, getting plenty of rest, making sure you are increasing your heart rate through exercise, and eating right are key elements to preventing heart disease in women. What could you change today for a healthier you tomorrow?