The bad news about cardiovascular (heart) disease is that one out of every two women in the U.S. die of cardiovascular related disease each year. As I sit here looking at my daughter, the statistics say that one of us will die from heart related disease.
That is NOT acceptable to me! The good news is that there is something we can do about it! Cardiovascular disease can be prevented by making lifestyle changes.
Ok…. Great…. So, if it’s a preventable disease, what do we do to stop it? How do we take ourselves out of the statistics and beat the rather unfavorable odds? As with anything, we empower ourselves and take charge of our own health. The first step is learning what the risk factors are for developing cardiovascular disease. Once we know the risk factors, we can evaluate where we are on the risk spectrum and determine just what actions, if any, we need to take to protect our personal health.
As with almost anything else in life, the risk factors fall into two distinct categories: risk factors we can’t control and risk factors we can control. The factors that we can’t control are fairly straight-forward:
Age – Ladies, it is what it is. If you are a woman over the age of 55, you have a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Family History - Do you have a family history of heart disease? Did a father or brother (or other male relative) develop cardiovascular disease before age 55? Did your mother or sister (or other female relative) development heard disease before age 65? If so, give yourself a check.
Race/Ethnicity – Are you African American, Hispanic or of Native American descent? If so, then unfortunately, you are at a greater risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Give yourself another check if you fall into this category.
Post-menopausal – Are you post-menopausal? Congratulations! You have another risk factor. (The research now indicates that post menopausal women who are receiving both Estrogen PLUS Progestin therapies are at an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Taking Estrogen therapy alone does not have any impact on the risk of developing heart disease.)