Heart disease continues to be the #1 killer of both women and men in the U.S. Nearly every minute of the day, one woman dies of heart disease. You may think of a heart attack as something that happens to men, but the reality is that heart disease doesn’t discriminate. That is why Northwell Health is a sponsor of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement to raise awareness and fight this deadly disease.
Here are a few tips to help women make heart-healthy lifestyle choices:
Know your risk factors
It’s important that you understand your risk of developing heart disease. Some risk factors can be modified and controlled such as diet and activity level, and others that cannot, such as age, gender and family history.
Maintain a healthy weight
A change in diet can help decrease your risk of heart disease, or may even prevent existing disease from getting worse.
And, if you do…quit. There are many smoking cessation programs, free support groups and follow-up classes available, including Northwell Health’s Center for Tobacco Control.
Regular exercise (moderate intensity; 30 minutes a day; several days a week) can help decrease your appetite, reduce stress and improve your overall health. Consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Manage your stress
Lowering your stress levels is one of the best things you can do for your body and your spirit. Learn what causes your stress and ways you can relieve it.
Get enough sleep
While everyone’s sleep needs are different, six to eight hours is recommended.
Plan regular checkups
Many diseases can be easily treated if they are detected early, so see your doctor at least once a year. Discuss your risk factors and develop a plan to keep your heart healthy.
Reva Gajer, NP, is the clinical program coordinator for the Women’s Heart Health Program, Katz Institute for Women’s Health of Northwell Health. For more information, call the Katz Institute for Women’s Health Resource Center at 855-850-5494 to speak to a women’s health specialist.