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The Female Heart

The Female Heart

by Health & Wellness Team - February 18, 2015

If you’re a woman, perhaps one of the most important things you need to know about heart disease is this: You don’t need gray hair to get it—or die from it.

It’s true that heart disease primarily kills women 65 and older. In fact, it’s the No. 1 cause of death for American women in that age group.

However, the disease is also the second leading cause of death among women 45 to 64 years old and the third one among women 25 to 44 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s why it’s crucial to protect your heart no matter how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.

The CDC and the American Heart Association recommend that you:

Choose a heart-healthy diet. Eat mostly fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and whole-grain foods, such as brown rice and whole-grain breads. Heart-smart protein options include lean meats, fish and beans.

Try to limit the overall amount of fat in your foods, and replace saturated and trans fats (like butter or partially hydrogenated oils) with healthy oils, like olive and canola. Also, pay attention to portion size.

Move more. Most adults need to do at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity activity (such as brisk walking) every week, along with exercises that work all the major muscle groups two or more days a week.

Make it personal. Talk with your doctor about specific risk factors that can raise your risk of developing heart disease and what you can do to lower them.

Those risks might include:

• Smoking.
• Having diabetes, high blood cholesterol or high blood pressure.
• Being overweight.
• Drinking alcohol.

Also, ask your doctor how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack—they are sometimes different in women than in men—and what to do if you or someone else has them. For more information about women and heart disease call the Shannon Regional Heart Center at (325) 481-2281.


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