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Heart Healthy Women
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Most women don’t spend much time thinking about heart disease. But the Mayo Clinic is trying to change that by making women of all ages aware.1

According to the Clinic, more women than men die of heart disease each year. In fact, women are six times as likely to die from heart disease, as they are from breast cancer. And more women over 65 die of heart disease each year than from all cancers combined. But instead of fearing these statistics, women need to be proactive. We can be educated about heart disease symptoms, risk factors, and reducing the risks.

The Symptoms:

1. Neck, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort

2. Shortness of breath

3. Nausea or vomiting

4. Sweating

4. Lightheadedness or dizziness

5. Unusual fatigue

The Risk Factors:

1. Traditional risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity.

2. Metabolic syndrome—a combination of fat around your abdomen, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high triglycerides—has a greater impact on women than on men.

3. Mental stress and depression affect women's hearts more than men's. Depression is twice as common in women as in men, and it increases the risk of heart disease by two to three times compared with those who aren't depressed.

4. Smoking is a greater risk factor for heart disease in women than in men.

5. Low levels of estrogen after menopause pose a significant risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease in the smaller blood vessels (small vessel heart disease).

Reducing the Risk:

1. Exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day on most days of the week.

2. Maintain a healthy weight.

3. Quit or don't start smoking.

4. Eat a diet that's low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt.

No mater what your age, take care of your heart. Although heart disease is the leading cause of death in women 65 and older, it’s the second-leading cause of death for women 45-64, and the third-leading cause of death for women 25-44. Be proactive: eat healthfully, exercise, seek emotional health, visit your doctor, and take care of that very vital organ you can’t live without—your heart.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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