Do You Know What The Number 1 Health Risk for Women Is?
Did you know that, according to the Center for s Disease Control and Prevention, every year in the U.S. more women die of heart disease than of all types of cancer combined? This is something that is very real to me because heart disease runs in my family. Both my father and my great-grandfather passed away in their early fifties due to heart disease, so I am painfully aware of the risk for my children and myself. The sad thing is that many women don’t even realize that they are at risk and many think it is something that affects men more than women.
Well, now that you know, here are some steps you can take to fight against the number 1 health threat, to both women and men:
1. Get seen by your doctor and get tested. You can be tested for potential heart risks, including:
- Poor cholesterol levels: Some cholesterol is necessary, but too much in your blood can build up in your arteries and trigger a heart attack. A simple blood test can help reveal your numbers.
- Being overweight: Especially belly fat can add extra strain on your heart. Reaching a healthy weight will help.
- High blood pressure: It makes your heart work harder. How to know if your pressure is too high? Have it tested.
- Diabetes: If you suffer from diabetes, you are at a higher risk for heart disease. Have your blood sugar level tested to see if it’s in a healthy range. By the way, losing weight can also help with certain types of diabetes.
- Smoking: Women who smoke are at a much higher risk of heart disease than men who smoke. Furthermore, if you take oral contraceptives and smoke, your risk of a heart attack is even higher.
2. Healthy Choices = Healthy Lives
- Eat a healthy diet: Go for fresh veggies, fruit, skinless poultry, fish, unsalted nuts, legumes, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Be sure to cut back on foods high in saturated fat, as well as those high in sodium, sugar and trans fat.
- Regular exercise: Try for at least 150 – 250 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week. Another benefit of staying active is weight control (plus, it keeps other risks in check too).
The most important thing to remember is that it’s not about being perfect every day. It’s about making small changes and building on your progress.
And now that you know what the number 1 health risk is for women, you can help protect yourself!