What should women do to reduce their odds of getting heart disease?
There are some risk factors that you can’t do anything about, like your family history. You don’t get to control that, and your age. For women, the risk of heart disease starts to skyrocket at the age of 55 or at menopause. Being a menstruating woman seems to offer some significant protection from heart disease for most women, not all but for most. But the incidence of heart disease rises rapidly when menopause occurs and by the age of 65 or 70, the incidence of heart disease in men and women turn out to be about the same.
So you can’t do much about menopause, you can’t do much about your age and you can’t do much about family history but there are a lots of risk factors you can control. No. 1, these days we hear a lot about obesity and that certainly has a lot to do with it. Women are to try to keep their waist size to 35 inches or below, that’s hard but that turns out to be extremely important.
Exercise, a sedentary lifestyle is very bad for vascular, cardiovascular health. Getting a lot of exercise, preferably aerobic exercise, preferably 20 or 30 minutes, four or five times a week is a major issue that needs to be done.
Smoking is a problem for anybody. Smoking turns out to be worse for women and men in terms of risk for heart disease, especially in women who have a family history of heart disease and triple especially women who are smokers and take birth control pills, that’s a definite, no, no. That’s a huge risk for heart disease.
Richard N. Fogoros, M.D. (DrRich) is a former professor of medicine, and a longtime practitioner, researcher and author in the fields of cardiology and cardiac electrophysiology. He currently makes as a consultant in research and development with biomedical companies, and as a writer. Experience:
Dr. Rich practiced and taught clinical cardiology for 20 years, directing cardiac electrophysiology at the University of Pittsburgh, and then at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. He was listed in Best Doctors in America from its inception until he retired from practice. He has authored numerous scientific articles, book chapters, and books.