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Heart Health Tips for Women of Different Ages

  By posted Jul 19th 2014
Healthy Living

Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images

If you believe that heart problems are only for men and that, as a woman, you are safe from such ailments, you could not be more wrong. Each year, more women die of heart disease than men. However, heart disease in women can present itself differently and may have different symptoms as compared to men. For instance, women are 1.5 times more likely than men to die within the year following a heart attack. Some of the major symptoms associated with heart disease in women are chest pressure or discomfort, nausea or vomiting, sweating, dizziness and extreme fatigue. Read on to know more about the condition, the risk factors and the modules of treatment for different age groups.

What is a Heart Disease?
Coronary heart disease or simply heart disease occurs due to the narrowing or hardening of the arteries that supplies blood to the heart muscles. Typically, this is because of plaque build-up (accumulation of fat, cholesterol and other substances) on the inner walls of the arteries. Very often, heart disease can lead to a heart attack due to the complete blockage of the plaque containing artery. This can be fatal as the arterial obstruction prevents the vital nutrients and oxygen from getting to the heart.

Risk Factors:
In both men and women, middle age is the period of increasing risk as this is the time when people are more likely to develop heart disease risk factors. Some of the common risk factors for women are:

  • Family History: A women is more prone to develop heart disease if her father or brother had heart attacks before the age of 55 or if her mother or sister had one before the age of 65.
  • Menopause: Another vital risk factor is low levels of estrogen following menopause. This poses as a major threat for developing cardiovascular ailments in the smaller arteries.
  • Stress or Depression: Depression or tension affects women’s heart more than men. Due to these emotional states, it gets difficult to follow a healthy lifestyle and recommended treatments.
  • Smoking: As in men, smoking is a great risk factor for developing heart disease in women. It is true that although it is difficult to change some of these risk factors, it is important to take control over many others like smoking to prevent the occurrence of these ailments.


Management Tips for Women of Different Age: 

Heart Health Tips in your 20s: If you take adequate prevention measures, you can definitely control the risk factors associated with these diseases. This can be done by getting the “big picture” of risk factors like checking for family history, weight control, checking blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels at periodic intervals. Also, pay attention to what you eat even though this gets tough during an active social life. Include heart-healthy foods in your regular diet like fruits, whole grains, vegetables and lean meat.

Heart Health Tips in your 30s: With increased family and work responsibilities during this period, it is vital that you pay proper attention to your bodily needs. Avoid any trigger factors like smoking or excessive alcohol consumption. More than one drink per day can cause your blood pressure to go up leading to heart failure or stroke. The basic nutrition guidelines should involve foods low in saturated and trans fats, fiber-rich whole grains and plenty of lean meat, fruits, vegetables and fish.

Heart Health Tips in your 40s: Now is the time to listen to your body more than ever. Regularly monitor your weight and start a balanced health program of heart healthy foods and exercise sessions. In your 40s, it is vital to not only count your calories but also to check how you are using those calories. Stick to a diet routine of at least 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day, whole grains (around one ounce) and oily fish rich in omega-3-fatty acids.

Heart Health Tips in your 50s and above: With changing physical features, you should learn to adopt a healthy lifestyle by minimizing risk factors as much as possible. Be active and indulge in outdoor fitness programs as much as possible. Even if you have neglected your health all these years, remember that it is never too late to start. Adopt a monthly health-check regime and consult your physician in case of any doubts. Choose foods that have the lowest sodium content to help you prevent or control blood pressure.

Always remember that it is up to you to take care of your health and plan a heart healthy program to avoid any ailments according to your age.

(sources: American Heart AssociationMayo ClinicWomenHeart)

 

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