Something is killing women in this country at an alarming rate! It is not bird flu, e.coli, swine flu or many of the other flashes you see everyday on news stands. The number one killer of vital women in this country is heart disease.
Our hearts are amazing muscles. They start beating 6 weeks after conception, while we are still in our mother’s womb, and continue-steadily-until the day we die. Along the way they can be assaulted by disease without us ever knowing it.
Heart disease creeps up on us slowly, undetected, un-noticed until, for many of us, we find ourselves in crisis. Although better prevention and management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol have made great strides in preventing the ravaging effects of heart disease, the continued epidemic of obesity, low mobility and diabetes leave us parked behind the eight ball.
The fact is, many of us can control the lifestyle factors that prevent heart disease. Only 30 percent of how we age is controlled by genetics. This leaves a full 70 percent of how we age, including our hearts, in our direct control.
The American Heart Association recently published its recommendations for preventing heart disease in women in the journalCirculation.
The following 7 recommendations are TRUE lifesavers:
- Avoid Smoking: First hand, second hand….all of it. Your heart and lungs are not the toxic waste-dump for the tobacco industry
- Exercise regularly: 30-60minutes of intense heart-rate-raising-total-body exercise. You strengthen your heart and get a strong brain and mind as a bonus.
- What you eat matters: You have a waistline not a wasteline! Eat a diet high in fruits, veggies and whole grains. Eat fish twice a week. Limit saturated fats (no fried foods), excess alcohol and excess sugar.
- Manage your body composition/manage your weight: It matters how much fat you have hanging around your body as fat is a toxic metabolic organ producing chemical and hormones that damage your body in excess.
- Lower your blood pressure: Your heart is a muscle. The harder it has to work to push blood through your vessels the worse it is for its longevity. Decrease the work of your heart b y lowering the blood pressure your heart has to pump against. Exercise or medical treatment does the trick.
- Keep your cholesterol and LDL in check: High cholesterol not only gums up the vessels your heart must push blood through (like a clogged drain) but cholesterol actually infiltrated your vessel walls causing damage and increasing the risk of heart attack. Exercise or medical treatment does the trick.
- Be sweet on the outside….not the inside: High blood sugar also damages your blood vessels and soft tissues while complicating diabetes. Best to keep your blood sugar in check with exercise or medical treatment.
DON’T KNOW what your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar levels are?! The first step in prevention is knowing yourself. Get to the doctor and get measured!
Finally, the AHA wants you to know 3 FALSE factors in the fight against heart disease:
- Estrogen replacement does NOT prevent heart disease or stroke.
- Anti-oxidents (folic acid, Vitamin C) do NOT prevent heart disease or stroke.
- B-vitamins (folic acid, B6, B12) do not prevent heart disease or stroke.
You are in control. Now take hold and make the lifestyle changes that can save your heart and your life!
Read more about taking control of your health in
“Dr. Vonda Wright’s Guide to THRIVE: 4 steps to Body, Brains and Bliss”