Healthy steps to protect a woman’s heart
Cardiovascular disease is not specific to just older men and women; it strikes women as young as or younger than fifty-four. Even though the gap between men and women still favors the men having a heart attack, women are starting to catch up.
Whereas heart attacks in men under fifty-four have continued to decrease, women’s have been gradually rising. This is more than likely due to the rising diabetes and obesity rate in women.
There is a light at the end of this morbid tunnel since there are steps that you can take to lessen your risk of having a heart attack.
Smoking kills. So, if you smoke, stop it.
Every smoker knows stopping is easier said than done. Therefore, if you have smoked a long time, it is in your best interest to seek medical assistance to stop. Smoking destroys your heart, lungs, and virtually all of your internal organs, not to mention those who are near you.
There is not one piece of smoking that is good for you. Every cigarette you smoke is harmful. There are no safe smokes.
About two thirds of all heart attacks are due to smoking! And, the risk you take rises every single time you have a smoke.
It may take several years for the effects of smoking to dissipate but as soon as you stop, your body begins the healing process of reducing the harmful effects to your cardiovascular system. Because smoking is so hard on your body, it is essential that you keep track of your blood pressure and keep it under control.
Before going further let’s start with a review of what these two numbers mean.
The top number, systolic, is the high point where your heart contracts and diastolic, the bottom number is the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats while it is at rest.
The numbers that follow represent different categories of risk. The higher your numbers are the more risk you have for a life altering cardiovascular event such as a stroke, aneurysm, heart attack….
- Normal blood pressure is a systolic reading of less than 120 with a diastolic reading less than 80. This reading is normally indicated 120/80.
- Pre-hypertension systolic numbers are 122-139 and diastolic of 80 to 89.
- Stage I hypertension is 140 to 159 for the systolic and 90-99 for the diastolic reading.
- Stage II, the most serious hypertension, has systolic readings of 160 or higher with diastolic readings of a 100 and above.
More black women have hypertension than white women and they begin developing it almost ten years earlier.
Blood pressure changes, even small ones up or down, will have a direct effect on your risk for a cardiovascular problem. Minor or major changes in your diet, depending on what your diet currently is can help you prevent pre-hypertension from morphing into stage I or stage II hypertension. Losing as little as 10% of your current body weight, if you are overweight, will often times improve these readings dramatically.