Preventing Heart Disease in Women

By Scott Eisenberg, D.O.
Jersey Shore University Medical Center

Many people believe that heart disease is only a man’s problem, but heart disease is a bigger health threat to woman than breast cancer. Women of all ages should be concerned about heart disease and should take the proper steps to prevent it by practicing healthy lifestyle habits.

“While some of the risk factors for heart disease you don’t have control over, it is important to realize that there are many that you do have control over,” said Scott Eisenberg, cardiologist at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.  “No matter your age, the steps you take now will lower your risk for heart disease and may save your life.”

According to the American Heart Association, several factors can increase a women's risk for heart disease.

  • Smoking: Women who smoke have a higher death risk from heart disease.

  • High blood pressure: Some women with hypertension can bring their blood pressure down to a normal level by losing weight, quitting smoking and exercising.

  • High cholesterol: Women should be sure to get regular cholesterol screenings and maintain a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.

  • Lack of exercise: The Physical Guidelines for Americans state 2 hours and 30 minutes, regular moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, tennis, dancing, and house and yard work each week, can reduce the risk for heart disease.

  • Poor Diet:  You should consume plenty of fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich foods and cereals low in saturated and trans fats.

  • Diabetes: About 68 percent of people who have diabetes die from some form of heart disease or stroke.
  • Heavy drinking - Women shouldn't have more than one alcoholic drink per day.

  • Stress: Adopt healthy ways of dealing with stress. For example, take breaks from work and home duties, read books, take daily walks and avoid negative people in your life.

    Having accurate information about heart disease, knowing the questions to ask a cardiologist, and making the necessary healthy changes will lower your risk of heart disease.