Heart disease in women is often diagnosed too late and therefore left untreated. Follow these steps and reduce your risk of developing heart disease by up to 90 percent.
# 1 Turn it off
Sitting in front of the TV is bad for your heart, so try to limit this activity to seven hours a week. The problem is not watching TV, but sitting. Research has shown that prolonged sitting is unhealthy – even if you are physically active on a regular basis. It affects blood sugar and fat metabolism and increases the excretion of inflammatory compounds associated with diabetes and heart disease. Standing and walking, in turn, activate various body muscles and metabolic processes that can help protect your heart.
# 2 Stay lean
The more weight you carry around, the more you put strain on your heart and blood vessels, and you also increase your risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol – all risk factors for heart disease. More and more women today are overweight or obese – get a healthy body mass index (between 18.5 and 24.9), but you will reduce the risk of heart disease by losing 5-10 percent of your body weight. The shape of your body is also important – if you have the shape of an apple, ie more fat around the waist (79 cm or more), the risk of developing heart disease is higher. There is a study that showed that as many as 63 percent of heart attacks in Western Europe are related to too much fat around the waist.
# 3 Stop at one glass
Nearly a third of women drink more alcohol than recommended, and about ten percent drink far too much. And while a little alcohol (one to two units a day – the equivalent of a small glass of wine) can provide extra protection after menopause, larger amounts increase the risk. Women are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol than men. Because they have more fat and less water in the body, alcohol is absorbed faster and they are more prone to its toxic effects.
# 4 Wink
This is obviously a problem for many of us – in fact, only a quarter of women are physically active enough to protect their hearts in this way. But not much needs to be done for actual results. Researchers at Indiana University, who have followed 70,000 women aged 25 to 40 for 20 years, recommend two and a half hours of exercise a week. This may seem like a lot, but it’s actually less than half an hour a day – and if you break it down into shorter, more intense intervals lasting 10 to 15 minutes, the desired goal is perfectly achievable. Walking is probably the best start because it is not risky, it is easy and does not strain the joints. Start with 10 minutes, three times a day, and then gradually increase the intensity.
# 5 Smoking is poison
The risk of developing heart disease doubles and recent research shows that women are an additional risk group. An American study showed that the risk of developing heart disease is as much as 25 percent higher in smokers than in smokers. Women have smaller, narrower blood vessels than men and it is assumed that the toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke have a stronger effect on women. Quit smoking and you will reduce your risk by a quarter in two years.
# 6 Become Mediterranean
If there is any disease in which diet plays a decisive role, it is heart disease. A series of studies have already proven the benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, fatty fish, legumes and grains with small amounts of red meat, dairy products and very little sugar and salt. Spanish researchers who recently followed people at higher risk for heart disease or stroke found that after five years, people who ate a Mediterranean diet enriched with nuts or olive oil were at risk for heart attack or stroke. 30 percent lower than people on a standard low-fat diet.