The heart truth is that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women of all ages, races, and shapes and sizes in the United States. But women sometimes experience heart disease differently than men. Healthy eating and physical activity go a long way to preventing heart disease and keeping it from getting worse if you already have it.
There is good news. You have the power to take action and lower your chance of developing heart disease and its risk factors. Start today. Make a commitment to find out your risk for heart disease and take steps toward a heart-healthy lifestyle.
To have a healthy heart, it is critical to know the risk factors for heart disease — that is, the behaviors or conditions that increase your chance of developing heart disease. Having just one risk factor increases your chance of developing heart disease, and your risk increases with each added risk factor.
Risks for heart disease:
• High blood pressure
• High blood cholesterol
• Diabetes and prediabetes
• Overweight and obesity
• Lack of physical activity
• Unhealthy diet
• Metabolic syndrome
• Family history of early heart disease
• “Older” age (55 or older for women)
• Preeclampsia during pregnancy
Find out your personal risk for heart disease by talk to your health care provider. Ask to have your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and blood sugar checked. Family history of early heart disease is a risk factor that cannot be changed. If your father or brother had a heart attack before age 55, or if your mother or sister had one before age 65, you are more likely to develop heart disease yourself.
You may wonder: If I have just one risk factor for heart disease — say, I am overweight or