Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States. The main cause is blockage of the coronary arteries, which are the blood vessels that supply the heart. Two-thirds of women who have heart attacks fail to make a full recovery. Prevention is essential to reduce the risk of premature death or disability caused by heart disease. With that in mind, the following five tips may help you keep heart disease at bay:
Reducing the Metabolic Syndrome Factors
The risk for developing heart disease increases for women because of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of the following factors: the amount of fat around the abdomen, high blood pressure, elevated levels of blood sugar and high triglycerides. According to the staff of the Mayo Clinic, metabolic syndrome has a greater impact on women than men. The underlying risk factors for developing the syndrome include abdominal obesity and insulin resistance. Though some individuals are predisposed to insulin resistance, physical inactivity and excess body fat contribute to acquiring this condition.
Eat a Heart Healthy Diet
A heart healthy diet encourages eating five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, reducing the amount of saturated and trans fat in one’s diet and limiting salt intake. Whole-grains, legumes and certain fish, such as tuna and salmon are recommended. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as walnuts, are thought to help reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Alcohol intake should be limited to one drink a day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men. In moderation, alcohol appears to have a protective effect on the heart.
Be Physically Active
A regime of regular and moderately vigorous physical activity helps you control your weight and reduce the chances of developing high blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides and diabetes. Engaging in 30 to 60 minutes of physical exercise several times a week is recommended but even shorter amounts of exercise benefit heart health. Activities such as housekeeping, gardening, walking the dog and climbing stairs count as daily exercise.