This February, I’ve been focusing on heart disease, which is often talked about as something that mainly affects men. Did you know that in the United States, almost as many women die from heart disease each year? That’s why I want to focus our attention on why women should consider the risks of heart disease and ways they can stay healthy to prevent possible issues.
This year, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued some alarming statistics about women and heart disease. Their research shows that only about half of women recognize the astronomical risk of heart disease. In the U.S., heart disease is the leading cause of death for women and accounts for 1 in every 5 female deaths. What’s worse is that 1 in 16 women age 20 and older have coronary heart disease, which is the most common type of the illness. These statistics are staggering and it scares me to think that there are so many women who don’t know that they’re at risk!
What women should look out for
In one of my previous blog posts, I talked about some heart disease risks, but there are a few things that women should think about in particular:
- The first thing to know is that women with diabetes are more likely to develop heart disease than men with diabetes.
- Second of all, stress and depression affect women's hearts more than men's hearts. Although both men and women face the possibilities of these disorders, women face a higher degree of threat from them.
Body Changes Can Affect Your Risk
- Next, there are specific things that a woman’s body goes through that can increase their cardiovascular risks. If a woman undergoes pregnancy complications like high blood pressure, it can increase her long term risk of the ailment. This unfortunately puts her in a position in which she’s more likely to develop heart disease.
- Just as well, low levels of estrogen after menopause pose a significant risk of developing issues in smaller blood vessels. For these reasons, it’s especially important for women to discuss their heart’s health with their doctor.
What to do if you're at risk
But, that doesn’t mean that there’s no hope for women against the dangers of cardiovascular illness. One of the best things you can do for your body is exercise regularly!
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. That's only about 30 minutes a day, not counting weekends! Start slowly, then build up. It might seem tough at first, but the endorphins your brain develops when you exercise will make you feel so much better, and your body will thank you in the long run.
In addition to exercise, make sure you stick to a healthy diet. Choose to eat whole grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables, low fat or fat free dairy products, and lean meats. Try to eat less saturated or trans fats, added sugars, and salt. For healthier meal plan ideas, take a look at my blog post about Healthy Food Choices for Diabetes.
Get support from your community
If you’re worried about your heart’s health, reach out to your friends and family to talk about ways you can motivate each other to take care of your bodies. It’s the communities we build together who hold us up and keep us going strong. Join the Change Makers Club and come together with Revive Jewelry to show your support for other women facing the threat of heart disease.
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