Women are ten times more likely to die of heart disease than any other disease. However, even though heart disease is the leading killer of women before breast or lung cancer, few women really see themselves at risk. Yet studies show that heart problems can occur very early. But, you have some control over your risk of suffering. By acting preemptively, you can reduce them. To do this, here are some steps, for three decades of your life!
Believe it or not, several studies show that due to poor diet, among others, many young people in their twenties already have high amount of cholesterol in their arteries. To remedy this, the researchers recommend to introduce (or continue!) new habits.
A review of 20 years
Make an appointment with your doctor for complete medical record tests (blood tests included). Knowing your personal risk is the starting point for all your future endeavors. Hypertension is dangerous when it is left untreated as one in four people who have high blood pressure know they are infected!
Smoking doubles the risk for women developing coronary heart disease. But, there is still time to stop. A year after you stop smoking, your risk of suffering from the discomfort is decreased by 50%.
If someone in your immediate family (parent, brother or sister) has high blood cholesterol or heart disease, know that you are more at risk! Change some aspects of your lifestyle now and will lower the risks to be like them!
Good food to Prevent Heart Diseases
Replace “double pepperoni” pizza with a touch of veggie pizza! Help bring down the cholesterol through healthy diet. Save your heart by eating food, which is “friends” of the heart, such as blueberries, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beets and red grapes, which contain many antioxidants that prevent the hardening of the arteries. And a diet rich in omega-3 and antioxidants can significantly reduce the risk of heart attack.
It’s time to put exercise on the menu and make it a habit of life! A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine reports that walking and vigorous exercise can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in women, regardless of their age, race and body mass index. Inactive people are twice as likely to have heart disease than active people.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. No time for 30 consecutive minutes? Divide your time: take a 15-minute walk after lunch and another after dinner.
Life is much more complicated now than it was several years ago. You juggle a career, a house, even a family. Remember! The search for balance between work and family increases your stress, which increases your risk of heart disease. Cortisol and adrenaline – two stress hormones – can constrict blood vessels, leaving them more vulnerable to blockages.
During the thirties, you are unfortunately more prone to gain weight – and more prone to breathless collaterally to your heart – because your metabolism has already begun to slow. And, since it becomes more challenging to insert time for sport in your already loaded agenda for exercise, the weight gain could become inevitable. In addition, the accumulated stress can erode or alter your sleep, another risk factor.
Learn to relax so your body will be able to discharge stress. Find activities that can help you relax such as yoga, walking, jogging, massage or beauty treatment.
Busy with young children? Choose a hobby to keep calm at home, like knitting, reading, scrapbooking or keeping a journal. Manual activities requiring repetitive acts (like knitting) soothe tensions, by moderating the activity of the brain and reducing the rate of adrenaline.
Multiply the opportunities to move while having a real pleasure! Many of your daily activities are easy ways to move. Go out with baby for long walks! Believe it or not, your stroller will be a mild form of resistance, which promotes muscle development! Join the kids for a soccer game at the park. Get active with the family (biking in summer, skiing in winter).
Reconsider the use of hormonal contraceptives like the pill, especially if you have few risk factors or if you smoke. The combination increases the risk.
You do not have to banish sugar, salt and refined flour, but limit your intake to keep your arteries healthy and avoid weight gain. Being overweight can cause elevation of blood pressure and cholesterol, and even lead to diabetes.
Also, if your diet contains more salt, the higher is your blood pressure. The Institute of Medicine states that the “tolerable upper intake levels” for sodium is 2,300 mg per day for adults. Beyond this limit, it helps to increase the risk of adverse health effects.
Your lifestyle is probably installed correctly, but your role as family support weighs heavily on you? Between your children and your older parents, do you have time for yourself? Your estrogen level is decreases, which can increase some risks, as this hormone plays an important role in the elasticity of arteries.
Having a good social network can ward off diseases of the heart, since you are thus less prone to stress and isolation. A study published in Archives of Internal Medicine reveals that a successful marriage has beneficial effects on health. Indeed, women dissatisfied with their marriage ran three times more likely risk to develop hypertension, cholesterol or being overweight, all of which are known to increase risk of heart disease.
Too little sleep impairs your health! Make sure to sleep between six to eight hours a night, going to bed and wake up at about the same hour, even on weekends. If you often wake up because of the children at night, try to nap when they take one. According to a Greek study, this would preserve the health of your heart and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In bed, sex is not just an amusing, but has real therapeutic implications, because it gives your heart a mini workout! A British study links even lower heart risks in the frequency of sex. So, why should not you?
Researchers have not found a definitive link between caffeine and heart disease, but this stimulus can absolutely raise your stress level. If your consumption of coffee soared furiously during this decade, it is time to share a cup of mocha java for a cup of green tea with multiple benefits.