Although there are factors such as heredity that are out of a person's control, there are steps that both women and men can take to lower their risk of heart disease and improve their overall health:
- Regular Checkups
High blood cholesterol and high blood pressure are among the major risk factors for heart disease. Consequently, the timely diagnosis and treatment of these conditions are essential. Regular physical exams, especially after the age of 40, will help identify such conditions so that they can be managed.
- Stop Smoking
Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in the Unites States. Women who smoke, or who are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke, have a much higher risk of death from heart disease.
- Lose Weight
In many people, overweight can lead to high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease. If you have too much fat, especially if the fat accumulates around your waist area, you are at higher risk for heart disease.
- Get Moving
Heart disease is almost twice as likely to develop in sedentary people than in those who are active. Walking is often a good choice for moderate exercise.
- Manage Your Drinking
The risk of heart disease in women who drink an average of one drink per day is actually lower than in non-drinkers. However, it is not recommended that non-drinkers begin using alcohol. Excessive drinking and binge drinking can contribute to many diseases, including heart failure and stroke. Pregnant women should not drink alcohol in any form.
- Manage Your Stress
Unhealthy responses to stress may lead to other risk behaviors like smoking and overeating. Finding healthy outlets for stress can benefit not only your health,but your mental outlook in many ways.