Women and Heart Disease: Reduce Your Risk!


Heart disease is an important health issue for all women! In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women over age 25. Each year, 500,000 women will die from heart disease. Approximately one in every 2.5 women will die of either heart disease or stoke, while one in every 30 women will die from breast cancer. What can you do to reduce your risk for developing heart disease?

Know the six risk factors for heart disease: 
1) High cholesterol 
2) High blood pressure 
3) Smoking
4) Diabetes
5) Obesity /overweight
6) Physical inactivity

Learn how to control any risk factors that you have – and take action! This is essential for reducing your risk for developing heart disease.

 Get your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose checked periodically. Goals for most women* are:

  • Total cholesterol: less than 200
  • HDL ("good") cholesterol: 60 or above
  • LDL ("bad") cholesterol: less than 100
  • Blood pressure: 120/80
  • Blood glucose (a test for diabetes): less than 100

 If you smoke, quit! There are many resources available to help.  QUITPLAN.

 If you have diabetes, have regular checkups with your health care provider so he or she can closely monitor your diabetes and ensure optimal care and appropriate goals for treatment.

 If you are overweight, take steps to lose some weight. Losing weight not only reduces your risk for heart disease, but also helps you manage your blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce your risk for diabetes.

 Get active! Aim for 30 minutes of exercise, five times a week. Park your car further away from the door, take a 10-minute brisk walk during lunch, and just make physical activity a part of your daily routine!

 Take steps toward healthier eating to help you manage your weight, cholesterol and blood pressure. Start by aiming to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Other important eating habits include choosing lower-fat foods, limiting how much salt you eat, choosing healthy snacks and eating appropriate portions.

* Your goals may be different if you have diabetes or other health conditions. Check with your health care provider.