Cardiovascular diseases stand as a leading cause of mortality, particularly affecting women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States. Despite the common belief that these diseases predominantly impact men, experts reveal that they account for one in every five female fatalities.
For most women between the ages of 40 and 60, having one or more factors elevating the risk of cardiovascular diseases is not uncommon. While factors like postmenopausal and early menarche are uncontrollable risks specific to women, many others can be avoided. In fact, 95% of severe cases involve at least one risk factor, including smoking, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, obesity, lack of physical activity, and diabetes.
Although certain risk factors like age, family history, menstruation, and menopause are beyond control, others can be managed.
Strategies to Reduce Cardiovascular Risks
1. Quit Smoking
For smokers, the risk of a heart attack is six times higher than that of non-smokers. In the United States, smoking stands as the primary cause of preventable mortality and the risk of severe illnesses.
Women who smoke heavily should consult a specialist and undergo regular lung cancer screenings.
2. Healthy Eating Habits
A nutritious diet involves the consumption of lean meats, and an abundance of fruits, and vegetables. The amount of food consumed must provide the body with sufficient energy, making strict diets less advisable.
3. Regular Physical Activity
Experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, such as brisk walking, light cycling, and housekeeping. Alternatively, 75 minutes of high-intensity physical activity, including hiking, jogging, and fast cycling, is equally beneficial.
4. Carve Out Time for Relaxation
Negative emotions and stress can adversely affect the heart. Allocating an ample amount of time, perhaps 15-20 minutes per day, for relaxation or engaging in favorite hobbies holds significant value in reducing stress and disease risks.
As we delve into strategies for cardiovascular health, it’s evident that certain factors are beyond our control. However, by implementing lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, adopting a healthy diet, incorporating regular physical activity, and allowing time for relaxation, individuals can actively mitigate the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Empowering women with knowledge and actionable steps is key to fostering heart health and overall well-being.