In surfing the web looking for a topic this week, I was startled to learn that 85% of American women (and I) don’t know what is their number-one health risk.
The answer…Heart Disease!
More astonishing was that fact that Heart Disease seems to have a gender bias. A woman’s ideal HDL cholesterol level needs to be below 60 to be out of the danger zone. While we men are good at 40. Those with diabetes are at an even greater risk of developing heart disease than men who suffer from it. The effects of smoking even seem to harm women more than men too. Especially the “secondhand variety”. And those who smoke and take oral contraceptives are even likelier to suffer a heart attack. Especially in women over 35.
Other risks more similar between the sexes are; high blood pressure (HPB) and obesity. The goods news, those two (along with poor HDL readings) can usually be addressed with exercise and nutrition. However, if those factors are in one’s family history, there’s not much one can do.
But, if you still want to “weigh” the scales in your favor, try the following:
Eat at least two 3.5 ounce servings of cold-water fish (like salmon) a week.
If you smoke…Quit!
Walk briskly for 30 minutes a day, five times a week.
Eat fresh fruits and veggies that contain antioxidants like vitamins C and E and beta-carotene (which the body converts to Vitamin A).
Cut down the salt/sodium. If you don’t have HBP, aim for a daily intake for less than 2,300 mg per day. If you do, less than 1,500!
Get Happy! Yup, studies show that happy people are 22% less likely to develop heart disease.