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To improve your chances of living to an older age, employ the five Obesity is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and premature death.
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But this alone doesn't explain the sudden rise in heart disease risk after menopause. Elevated triglycerides are an important contributor to cardiovascular risk in women. Low HDL and high triglycerides appear to be the only factors that increase the risk of death from heart disease in women over age Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease in women more than it does in men, perhaps because women with diabetes more often have added risk factors, such as obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol.

Although women usually develop heart disease about 10 years later than men, diabetes erases that advantage. In women who've already had a heart attack, diabetes doubles the risk for a second heart attack and increases the risk for heart failure. Metabolic syndrome. This is a group of health risks — large waist size, elevated blood pressure, glucose intolerance, low HDL cholesterol, and high triglycerides — that increases your chance of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Harvard Medical School research suggests that, for women, metabolic syndrome is the most important risk factor for having heart attacks at an unusually early age. In a study of patients undergoing bypass surgery, metabolic syndrome produced a greater risk for women than it did for men of dying within eight years. Women who smoke are more likely to have a heart attack as male smokers. Women are also less likely to succeed in quitting, and women who do quit are more likely to start again.


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Moreover, women may not find nicotine replacement as effective, and — because the menstrual cycle affects tobacco withdrawal symptoms — they may get inconsistent results with antismoking medications. Many women don't experience the crushing chest pain that is a classic symptom of a heart attack in men. Some feel extremely tired or short of breath.

Other atypical symptoms include nausea and abdominal, neck, and shoulder pain. In one study, women reported deep fatigue and disturbed sleep as much as a month or two before a heart attack. During a heart attack, only about one in eight women reported chest pain; even then, they described it as pressure, aching, or tightness rather than pain. Diagnosis and treatment. Women have smaller and lighter coronary arteries than men do. This makes angiography, angioplasty, and coronary bypass surgery more difficult to do, thereby reducing a woman's chance of receiving a proper diagnosis and having a good outcome.

Women tend to have more complications following surgery. And they're twice as likely to continue having symptoms several years after coronary angioplasty. They're usually older than men and have more chronic conditions at the time of their first coronary event. Women's responses to standard exercise stress tests are also different from men's, so it's difficult to interpret the results.

Fortunately, these problems are diminishing thanks to advances in technology and better understanding of heart disease in women. Don't smoke, actively or passively. Your chance of having a heart attack doubles if you smoke as few as one to four cigarettes per day. Even if you don't smoke, regular exposure to someone else's smoke can increase your risk. Be more active. Get at least 30 minutes per day of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, most days.

Fit even more activity into your life: Take the stairs rather than the elevator, do yard work, park farther from your destination and walk. Eat healthfully.

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Heart Information Center: Heart Disease Risk Factors | Texas Heart Institute

Studies at Harvard Medical School and elsewhere have identified several crucial ingredients of a heart-healthy diet — whole grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts about 5 ounces per week , poly- and monounsaturated fats, fatty fish such as wild salmon , and limited intake of trans fats. Reduce stress and treat depression. Your risk for heart disease increases if you're depressed or feel chronically stressed. Stress-reducing strategies include exercise, adequate sleep, relaxation techniques, and meditation. Psychotherapy can be especially helpful with depression and anxiety.

Reach for the numbers.


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According to the American Heart Association AHA , you can greatly reduce your risk for these diseases by maintaining certain body measurements and levels of cholesterol and blood pressure see chart below. Multiply your weight in pounds by , then divide that number by the square of your height in inches. Time to cue up the Marvin Gaye and break out the good wine. It turns out, not having regular sex could be contributing to your heart attack risk.

No Second Chances

Janette Nesheiwat. Go ahead and indulge that sushi craving—it could just improve your heart health after However, the standard American diet contains up to a ratio, meaning we consume up to 20 times more omega-6s than omega-3s. A review of data published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology reveals that the more times a person gives birth, the greater their risk of a heart attack is. Her suggestion to mitigate this risk?

Getting the flu will do more than just eat up your sick days—it could contribute to your risk of potentially-fatal cardiovascular disease. According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine , within the first seven days of a confirmed flu diagnosis, patients have a significantly increased risk of heart attack.

If your last blood pressure reading was higher than normal, do everything in your power to get those numbers down—or you could be staring down a heart attack in the future. A little green space can do you a world of good. If you want to reduce your risk of a heart attack, consider commuting by bike whenever possible. Ignoring high cholesterol levels now may mean setting yourself up for serious heart trouble in the future. According to Nesheiwat, high cholesterol is one of the biggest contributing factors to your risk of heart disease.


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  8. Skipping the gym one too many times could be a big problem for your heart down the road. So, how much time should you be spending at the gym? Thirty minutes of moderate activity a day, or minutes a week will reduce your heart disease risk. Because if you do, your heart could pay the price. You may have been able to get away with fried food at 20, but at 40, those greasy snacks are not making your heart happy. However, there are numerous ways to slash your risk of developing either disease, like losing weight and quitting smoking.

    Fortunately, supplementation and eating foods like fatty fish, oranges, strawberries, lentils, peanuts, spinach, cauliflower, and broccoli can increase your levels of this important nutrient. Addressing your depressive symptoms is the first step toward a healthier heart. If you want to lower your risk of a heart attack, reducing your consumption of animal products in favor of fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins is a great place to start. Your family history shapes who you are, including your risk of a heart attack.

    The three categories of risk factors are detailed here:

    Luckily, having this information and controlling other risk factors, like diet and activity level, can help you live a longer, healthier life. We all get angry from time to time, but higher anger levels mean a higher risk of heart attack. Think opting for diet soda instead of the sugary stuff will help keep your heart healthy?

    Think again. Research published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine reveals that even among individuals without other risk factors, regular consumption of diet drinks increases your risk of heart disease. According to a study published in Frontiers in Physiology , lower-altitude living is associated with a greater risk of metabolic syndrome, which can contribute to heart disease.

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    A review of research published in Circulation demonstrates a significant link between eating breakfast and a reduced risk of coronary disease. Toggle navigation. Faceboook Twitter Instagram. Pets News Newsletter. Toggle secondary navigation Pets News Newsletter Follow. A longer, healthier life starts now.