Heart disease remains a significant health concern, and women, in particular, should be proactive in reducing their risk. While women remain relatively protected against heart disease while they are menstruating owing to hormonal factors their risk equals men post menopause. Also due to social medical and biological factors women tend to have more severe heart disease and tend to be diagnosed later and the nature of the disease makes it tougher to treat. Also, outcomes tend to be less favourable than in men.
According to Dr V. Rajashekhar, Senior Consultant Interventional Cardiology & Electrophysiology, Certified Proctor For TAVR & Clinical Director, Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad, adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle is crucial, encompassing dietary choices, physical activity, stress management, and regular health check-ups.
Firstly, maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet is paramount. Women should focus on incorporating heart-friendly foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Limiting saturated and trans fats, as well as reducing sodium intake, contributes to overall cardiovascular health. Small, sustainable changes in eating habits can make a substantial difference over time.
Physical activity plays a pivotal role in heart disease prevention. Regular exercise not only helps in maintaining a healthy weight but also strengthens the heart muscle, improves blood circulation, and lowers blood pressure. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, which can be achieved through activities like brisk walking, cycling, or dancing.
Stress management is another crucial aspect often overlooked. Chronic stress can negatively impact heart health. Engaging in activities such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can help alleviate stress and promote overall well-being. Establishing a healthy work-life balance and seeking support when needed are essential components of stress reduction.
Regular health check-ups are fundamental for early detection and prevention. Women should schedule routine visits to healthcare professionals for blood pressure checks, cholesterol screenings, and other relevant tests. Being aware of one's family medical history can aid in identifying potential risk factors and customizing preventive measures accordingly.
Furthermore, avoiding harmful habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption significantly contributes to heart health. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, as it damages blood vessels and reduces oxygen supply to the heart. Likewise, excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure and contribute to heart-related issues.
In conclusion, empowering women with knowledge and encouraging them to make informed choices can pave the way for a heart-healthy future.