Lifestyle changes can improve women’s heart health
Are you living a heart-healthy lifestyle? It might seem strange to have our ObGyns ask this question, but women’s heart health is an important issue. Heart disease is the number one killer of American women, while strokes are the fourth highest cause of death. There’s no need to panic though. The doctors at Athens ObGyn offer preventive care, education and health screenings to promote your health and wellness.
Women’s heart health begins with a heart-healthy diet and exercise
A healthy diet is one of the foundations of heart health for women.
- Cutting back on processed food puts you on the road to a healthier heart.
- Try replacing foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, beans and other sources of protein.
- Don’t forget that low-fat dairy and healthy, unsaturated fat can also reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Exercise is also essential for women’s heart health.
- Most women need to do aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming or biking, for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. This adds up to 150 minutes each week.
- We also recommend at least two days of muscle-building activities.
- Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of working all this activity into your schedule? Try breaking your physical activity into five or 10-minute segments throughout your day.
By combining a heart-healthy diet and moderate exercise, you can drop pounds and maintain a healthy weight. This is important because being overweight or obese increases the risk for developing heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Consider the effects of smoking and drinking alcohol
Smoking is a leading cause of heart disease and strokes. In fact, women who smoke have a higher risk for developing heart disease than men who smoke. We know that it can be difficult to quit on your own, so feel free to reach out to us for resources to help you quit.
As for booze, you should consume it in moderation. Having more than one drink per day increases the risk for heart disease. The Office on Women’s Health offers the following definition of one drink.
- One 5-ounce glass of wine
- One 12-ounce can or bottle of beer
- 5 ounces of 80-proof liquor, or a shot of liquor
Also, keep in mind that you shouldn’t drink alcohol during pregnancy.