Steps For Preventing Heart Disease in Women

2013-06-28 | |
Last updated: 2014-11-25

While both men and women can develop coronary heart disease, or CHD, women suffer more from the disease than men. In fact, one woman out of 4 will die as a result of a heart attack, more than from any other cause, including breast cancer. The National Institutes of Health considers the low estrogen hormone levels experienced by women following menopause to be one of the main culprits. This is because these low estrogen levels can lead to a condition called Coronary Microvascular Disease, or coronary MVD. This is a condition in which the tiny arteries in the heart are damaged. The NIH thinks that both natural changes due to aging as well as stress can cause this disease, which is the leading cause of death among women who experience heart attacks.

When Should Women First Think About The Risks Of Heart Disease?

The unfortunate part is that heart disease begins in the teens according to the Nashville, Tennessee research hospital Vanderbilt Medical Center. By the time that women reach the age of 40, the disease is already in place. Most women, however, do not concern themselves about their hearts until they have a heart attack. In some, this occurs around the age of 60 to 70, following the significant drop in estrogen after menopause. Prevention, Vanderbilt highlights, is the key to avoiding CHD.

What Can Women Do To Prevent Heart Disease?

In order to take preventative steps, women must first inform themselves regarding the disease. Although the numbers of women who have dies from MVD has declined in recent years, the death rate is still high. At the present, medical testing does not necessarily show MVD, so women might believe that they are not at risk until something happens. The first step in prevention of the disease must then be to become aware of the risk.

Understanding The Effects Of Cholesterol On Heart Disease Risk

The next step is to understand how the heart works so that women may include a healthy diet and exercise program to reduce risk. The oxygen coming into the body is taken from the lungs to the heart via arteries. The oxygenated blood is then carried out of another set of arteries into the body, where the tissues, organs and muscles use them to best advantage. The accumulation of deposits or plaque on the walls of the arteries can significantly slow the movement of blood and increase the risks of heart attacks.

The naturally occurring chemical cholesterol is a necessary ingredient for the production of hormones. However, too much of the wrong type of cholesterol in the body causes this plaque accumulation in the arteries. The arteries narrow, which makes free passage of blood restricted. This means the heart has to pump much harder to get oxygenated blood into the body. Eating a diet free from saturated and trans fats reduces the narrowing of the arteries and allows the heart to pump at its regular pace.

The saturated and trans fats that lead to “bad cholesterol” are found in red meats, dairy products and some oils like those from the coconut and palm trees. Trans fats result from chemical processing of oils, otherwise known as hydrogenation. Avoiding deep fried and pre-packaged foods that include ingredients labelled “partially hydrogenated” can help women stave off a heart attack. Instead, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats such as chicken and fish, whole grains and fibre can help to reduce “bad cholesterol” while promoting the good kind.

Using Exercise To Reduce The Risks Of Heart Disease
Many people do not understand the importance that exercise plays on the health of the heart. Gaining this understanding is important in trying to prevent a heart attack. When people work out, they draw in much more oxygen than when they are stationary. The heart will begin to draw in this oxygenated blood and pump it to the rest of the body. The heart pumps faster, which stimulates the release of hormones. The right amount of hormones delivered to the tissues within the body encourages theses tissues to become much more efficient.


Now that we have explained the basics, the next step is to make the effort of maintaining heart health more fun instead of a chore. For those who enjoy lifting weights and interval training, hitting the gym for the resistance machines is good. For others, turning on some music and getting moving is all that is required. For others so included, kickboxing can be very entertaining. Such exercise does not have to last for hours; even ten minutes each day is enough to achieve the beneficial effects. These types of exercise also help the core muscles to tighten while offering important stress relief for woman.

Written by Andre Smith, a fitness and nutrition enthusiast from Brisbane, Australia. Andre has been engaged in bodybuilding and learning about nutrition for the past six years. He highly recommends the gym in Brisbane, I feel good 24/7, for those who are looking to reach their fitness goals with help of professional equipment and service.

Related Links

Category: Disease Prevention, General Health, Health Risks

Comments are closed.