One in three women will die from heart disease or stroke. Take steps to reduce your risk through diet and exercise.

Women: Limit heart disease risk through diet

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It is hard to believe that one in three women will die from either heart disease or a stroke, according to the American Heart Association. That’s approximately one death per minute.

There are many lifestyle factors under our control that increase our risk for vascular disease - smoking, excess weight, uncontrolled high blood pressure and diabetes - and having high cholesterol levels. Fortunately, by taking positive actions on our part, we can significantly reduce our risk for cardiovascular disease.

Heart disease is a little different in women. There are benign symptoms of heart problems in women, which can be mixed up with other health issues. They include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Jaw pain
  • Nausea
  • Back pain

Menopause brings about changes that increase a woman’s risk for heart disease and strokes:

  • Lower estrogen
  • LDL cholesterol goes up 
  • Blood pressure goes up

Dietary Changes

  • Fruits and veggies
  • Whole-grains
  • Healthy oils, nuts, fish

Just about all of the risk factors for heart disease and strokes are things that we do, so that means they are within our control. However, women tend to take care of everyone else but themselves.

So in the interest of your health and your family’s, take a few strides this year to improve you vascular health. Strive for 150 minutes of exercise in a week. Keep up with your doctor appointments, and if meds have been prescribed to control health issues, like your blood pressure, then take them. And even though you are very very busy, find the time to destress every single day. It will help keep your vascular system healthier.

Recipes to try from the American Heart Association: