Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Most Women at Risk for Heart Disease

The American Heart Association (AHA) released its 2007 guidelines intended to help women prevent heart disease. The major change this year is that the guidelines focus more on a woman’s lifetime risk rather than just her short-term risk, which was the case with the 2004 guidelines.

With one in three women dying from heart disease each year, this subject is no laughing matter. However, there are steps that each woman can take to reduce her risk for the deadly disease. A few highlights from the guidelines include:

Quit smoking.
Quitting this disgusting habit today can influence the rest of your life. The AHA guidelines recommend counseling, nicotine replacement and/or other forms of smoking cessation assistance. If you don’t smoke, that’s wonderful but you should also avoid inhaling secondhand smoke, which can also be hazardous to you health.

All women should exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Women who need to lose weight or maintain their weight loss are advised to exercise between 60 to 90 minutes a day for most days of the day.

Heart healthy diets are important. This should include fruits, whole grains, vegetables and foods with fiber. Women should limit their consumption of alcohol and watch their sodium intake. Margarine can also be a part of this heart healthy diet and should be used in place of butter.

Women over the age of 65 should take low-dose aspirin daily. If you’re not of this age, you don’t need to take aspirin but in women 65 and older, the medicine has been shown help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Ladies, it’s important to reduce your risk for heart disease today! Don’t wait until tomorrow.

For more information about the AHA and its 2007 guidelines, visit http://heart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3045524.

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