I absolutely love the way the media portrays "older" women these days. More and more you see movies with great roles for actresses who’ve long since left their 20s smoking behind in the dust.
Morning talk shows and evening news feature vibrant, intelligent -- and yes, mature -- women in prominent, leading roles. From Cougar Town to glamour grandmothers, or glamgrams, to magazines that proudly proclaim that 50-is-the-new-30, it’s a good time to be a woman who is 50-something.
Unfortunately, no one told cardiovascular disease that 50 is supposed to be the new 30 and heart disease continues to be a source of health concern for aging women, particularly after menopause.
As we enter into our second-generation 30-something era of life, how do we keep heart disease at bay and enjoy the heart health that we had in our 30s? The answer lies in the lifestyle choices we make during our 20s and 30s.
According to the results of a new study conducted by Northwestern Medicine, the lifestyle choices that you make as a young adult have a direct correlation on your risk of heart disease as you age. For those at risk for heart disease, lifestyle changes have been shown to reduce and even prevent heart disease.
Recommended lifestyle changes include following a healthy heart-friendly diet, engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, keeping body-mass-index or BMI within healthy levels, and quitting smoking. Other recommended lifestyle changes are managing stress levels, limiting alcohol intake, controlling high blood pressure, lowering high blood cholesterol levels, controlling diabetes, and practicing good hygiene.
While multiple lifestyle factors were examined, the Northwestern study examined the effects of consistently following five selected heart-healthy lifestyle choices during the 20s and 30s on the development of heart disease later in life.
The lifestyle changes tracked were a healthy diet, limiting alcohol intake, no smoking, a healthy BMI, and regular physical activity.