Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. As such, it is important for women to be aware of the symptoms of heart disease, the factors that can influence their risk of developing the condition and the strategies they can use to reduce their risk.
What is Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is an umbrella term that refers to all diseases of the heart and blood vessels. It includes coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, heart failure and peripheral artery disease. CVD is caused by a buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis). This can lead to blockages in the arteries and reduce the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart and other parts of the body.
Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease in Women
Age: As women age, so does their risk of heart disease, stroke and other forms of CVD.
Genetics: Certain genes can increase the risk of CVD, including certain genetic variants associated with the hormones estrogen and testosterone.
Family History of CVD: Having a family history of CVD increases the risk for developing the condition in women.
Diabetes: Women with diabetes are more likely to develop CVD than those without diabetes.
Smoking: Women who smoke are more at risk of developing CVD than those who don’t.
Prevention Strategies and Health Tips
There are a number of strategies that can be used to reduce the risk of CVD in women. These include:
Eating a Healthy Diet: Eating a diet low in saturated fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help reduce the risk of CVD.
Exercising Regularly: Regular physical activity can help women lower their risk of CVD. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of CVD. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can help reduce that risk.
Not Smoking: Quitting smoking can significantly reduce the risk of CVD.
Managing Stress: Reducing stress through relaxation techniques and counselling can help reduce the risk of developing CVD.
Understanding Signs and Symptoms: Understanding the signs and symptoms of heart disease can help women seek medical treatment sooner, if needed.
By understanding their risk factors, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and understanding the signs and symptoms of CVD, women can work to reduce their risk of developing the condition.