Every organ in our body is connected with the other, making the body a big web of interconnections. And can you guess what is at the centre of this web? It is your heart. So it becomes all the more important that you nurture your heart in all the small ways that you can. The advice holds equally good for women as they are on the hit list when it comes to heart problems. Research reveals that more than half women in America are susceptible to heart diseases and statistics show that more women suffer from strokes than men. These reasons are enough to take heart problems in women seriously and take a proactive approach in making sure that you aren’t the one who falls prey to it.
Know the Signs
While many women might be educated enough about the signs of breast cancer but few know the signs that can tell you when she needs to care for her heart and care for it in a proper way. Here are the signs:
- Difficulty in breathing.
- Headaches for a prolonged period of time, which were unknown to you till date.
- Back pain, especially between the shoulder regions.
- Anxious or panicky feelings.
- Occasional pain in the chest which sometimes spreads to neck , jaw, shoulders, inside of the arms or ear
The Preventive Steps can You can Take
You can deal effectively with heart related issues if you make simple lifestyle changes and keep the advice in mind that you have to change for the fear that your life might change you. The preventive range from a simple change in your diet to doing regular check ups. The steps to prevent heart problems may be enumerated as:
Focus on Your Diet:
Your battle against heart problems starts in the kitchen. Whatever you eat has a direct relation to the health of your heart as it affects your insulin levels. It is to be kept in mind that it is insulin that drives your synthesis of cholesterol and your metabolism. Some people might think that they would switch simply to fat free diet as the best preventive measure but that isn’t the solution. Get the facts right, you need fats for a healthy heart, but you need to consume those unsaturated oils that come form plants. It has been found that a diet low in saturated fats and simple carbohydrates and high in vegetables and soy can reduce cholesterol and that too without side effects! Eating six to seven servings of fruits per day can also prevent any heart diseases. It is recommended that you keep low on butter, fatty meats, margarine and diary products (produced from 2% of whole milk).
Women tend to be more susceptible to depression and emotional imbalances. But you need to learn that this stress is hard on the heart. Studies have suggested that women who otherwise have no health complications but remain under stress and depression most of the times are more likely to develop heart disease earlier in life than their fellow women. If you have a lot of wok at the office, or are facing other issues make sure that you don’t let them take a toll on your heart, and make sure that you learn to manage stress and take breaks from these daily routine, as taking your time off can reduce the risk of a heart stroke by a third.
Stop Smoking :
One of the most crucial factors for developing heart disease is smoking as the chemicals present in it narrows the arteries leading to damage of heart and blood vessels. Stop smoking in whatever way you can. Researches have shown that women who smoke are more likely to develop heart diseases than men increasing the likelihood of heart attack, blood clots, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Quitting smoking can help you prolong your life, feel healthier, look better and improves your sense of taste and smell. So its benefits are surely the ones to which women should look forward to.
Reduce Intake of Red and Processed Meat:
Women need to be careful while relishing those delicacies of red meat and think twice before picking up your fork and knife to eat it. Studies have shown that eating more than 4 ounces of red meat a day increases your risk of a heart disease by over 30%. Same is the case with processed meat (sausages, hot dogs and bacon) which are no better for your health if taken in excess as they increase cholesterol and might even lead to diabetes. So what you can do is that instead of red meat you can throw a giant Portobello mushroom on that grill which is equally satisfying as beef.
Know Your Birth Control Pills:
Studies have traced a higher incidence of heart problems in women to birth control pills and estrogen supplementation. It can be said that the overall risk is low but researchers also don’t deny the role of hormonal contraception in increasing heart attacks and stroke. Alternative methods of contraception should be preferred over birth control pills and women need to consult their doctor to take into account any risk before starting this medication.
Have Alcohol in Moderation:
When the theme is drinking alcohol in moderation that means that it is highly recommended that women consume not more than a glass of alcohol a day that amounts to 5-ounce wine, 12 ounce of beer and 1.5 ounces of 80-prof liquor. But women need to be extremely cautious before going ahead of this mark as they would be welcoming heart diseases with the increased intake.
30 min Exercise:
Is this an off and on repeated mantra? It might surely be, but you have to learn to stick to it religiously if you want to prevent the early onset of a heart disease. Women who have the habit of walking or otherwise exercising regularly have are less prone to heart attacks and strokes, have lower blood pressure and maintain higher levels of HDL cholesterol. You may start out slowly but increasing the pace as you get accustomed to it will give you better benefits in the long run.
Track down on Negativity, Develop Positive Attitude:
Do you secretly complain and take pleasure in throwing pity parties for yourself? All this means that you are trying to hide your ongoing inner gloominess but it also means that you triple your risk of a heart stroke, a bypass or even a clogged leg artery. You can work on cultivating the optimist in you. Do things that you love doing, whether its gardening, watching your favorite cartoons, spending time with your family or scrapbooking. There is no end to this list, you may do whatever makes you feel like you want to live your lie again and treat yourself as your best friend. You may even volunteer for community services if yo have an inclination for such activities.
Eating oily fish several times a week contains agents like fish oil that are effective in preventing heart diseases or you may even substitute fish oil by taking in daily fish oil capsules or supplements. This is very effective for women with high triglyceride levels, low level of HDL cholesterol and having a strong family history of being susceptible to heart problems.
Last but not the least, a high blood pressure and cholesterol level can damage your heart. You should have a check on their numbers to make sure that your health regimen is working best for you. It is recommended that you go for regular blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes screening to prevent yourself against falling prey to heart problems at the very outset. You also need to keep a watch on your weight as the fatter you get, the less better it is for your heart.
There would be magic bullets available for your heart health. Make sure that start following these steps ideally when you are on the threshold of twenty. Most heart problems can be prevented if you just make a few changes in your life style and it’s never too late if you want to develop heart friendly healthy habits.