What Are The Risk Factors For Heart Disease In Women
Some risk factors for heart disease cant be controlled, but many of them can be kept in check with diet, exercise, medication , and a healthy lifestyle.
Common risk factors for women include:
- Being overweight or obese
- A family history of heart attacks or heart disease
- Cigarette smoking
That final risk factor, cigarette smoking, is an even bigger danger to women than menespecially to young women. A pre-menopausal woman who smokes is at a significantly increased risk for a heart attack, says Dr. Freed.
Its also important to note that type 2 diabetes is considered an indicator of the presence of underlying cardiovascular disease. It is thought that if a woman has diabetes before menopause, it strips away the 10-year advantage that women have over men with respect to coronary artery disease.
What Are The Coronary Arteries
Coronary arteries supply blood to the heart muscle. Like all other tissues in the body, the heart muscle needs oxygen-rich blood to function, and oxygen-depleted blood must be carried away. The coronary arteries run along the outside of the heart and have small branches that supply blood to the heart muscle.
Healthy Eating And Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Eating a variety of foods is good for our health and can help reduce the risk of disease, including heart disease. This helps maintain a healthy and interesting diet and provides a range of different nutrients to the body.
To reduce your heart disease risk, follow these heart healthy eating patterns recommended by the Heart Foundation:
- Make your bones and muscles stronger.
- Make you feel more confident, happy and relaxed.
- Help you to sleep better.
If you have had a heart attack, regular physical activity will help you to recover more quickly. If you have diabetes, it will also help you to manage your blood-glucose levels.
Physical activity doesnât have to be strenuous. Moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, is great for your health. It is recommended that you do 30â45 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. You can do this in smaller bouts, such as three 10-minute walks, if it is easier.
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What Conditions Are Cardiovascular Diseases
There are many different types of cardiovascular diseases including but not limited to:
- Arrhythmia: Problem with the electrical conduction system of your heart which can lead to abnormal heart rhythms or heart rates.
- Valve disease: Problem with your heart valves , such as valve tightening or leaking.
- Coronary artery disease: Problem with the blood vessels of your heart, such as blockages.
- Heart failure: Problem with heart pumping/relaxing functions, which lead to fluid buildup and shortness of breath.
- Peripheral artery disease: Problem with the blood vessels of your arms, legs or abdominal organs, such as narrowing or blockages.
- Aortic disease: Problem with the large blood vessel that directs blood from your heart to your brain and the rest of your body, such as dilatation or aneurysm.
- Congenital heart disease: Heart problem that youre born with, which can affect different parts of the heart.
- Pericardial disease: Problem with the lining of your heart, including pericarditis and pericardial effusion.
- Cerebrovascular disease: Problem with the blood vessels that deliver blood to your brain, such as narrowing or blockages.
- Deep vein thrombosis: Blockage in the veins, vessels that bring blood back from your brain/body to your heart.
Surgery Or Invasive Procedures
In some cases of heart disease, surgery or a medical procedure is necessary to treat the condition and prevent worsening symptoms.
For example, if you have arteries that are blocked entirely or almost completely by plaque buildup, your doctor may insert a stent in your artery to return regular blood flow. The procedure your doctor will perform depends on the type of heart disease you have and the extent of damage to your heart.
Some risk factors for heart disease cant be controlled, like your family history, for example. But its still important to lower your chance of developing heart disease by decreasing the risk factors that you can control.
Understanding How The Heart Works
The heart is the hardest working muscle in your body. The average heart beats 100,000 times a day, day and night, to supply oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. Blood pumped by the heart also shuttles waste products such as carbon dioxide to the lungs so it can be eliminated from your body. Proper heart function is essential to support life.
Coronavirus And Heart Disease
During the novel coronavirus pandemic, the University of Maryland Medical System continues to care for the health and well-being of people in Maryland, especially those with underlying conditions, such as heart disease, that may put them at higher risk.
In addition to the virus itself, there is risk that those with previously diagnosed or new heart problems are not seeking medical attention as needed.
UMMS heart care teams across the state are still seeing patients with urgent or emergent conditions. If you feel chest pain or the symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 immediately. Learn more about when to .
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Depression And Heart Disease
Depression can lead to a number of changes in your body that can increase your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack. Too much stress, consistently feeling sad, or both maycan elevate your blood pressure.
In addition, depression also raises your levels of a substance called C-reactive protein . CRP is a marker for inflammation in the body. Higher than normal levels of CRP have also been shown to predict heart disease.
Depression maycan also lead to a decreased interest in daily activities. This includes daily routines like exercise that are necessary to help prevent heart disease. Other unhealthy behaviors may follow, such as:
- skipping medications
- not putting effort into eating a healthy diet
- drinking too much alcohol
- smoking cigarettes
Talk with your doctor if you suspect you have depression. Professional help can get you back on the path to good health and may reduce the possibility of recurring problems.
Heart disease is dangerous, but it can be prevented in many cases. Everyone would benefit from maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle, but its particularly important for those with increased risk.
Prevent heart disease by doing the following:
- Exercise regularly.
- Reduce stress in your life.
- Stop smoking.
Heart Disease Deaths Vary By Sex Race And Ethnicity
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States, including African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic, and white men. For women from the Pacific Islands and Asian American, American Indian, Alaska Native, and Hispanic women, heart disease is second only to cancer.5
Below are the percentages of all deaths caused by heart disease in 2015, listed by ethnicity, race, and sex.5
|Race of Ethnic Group|
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Heart Disease In The United States
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.1
- One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.1
- About 655,000 Americans die from heart disease each yearthats 1 in every 4 deaths.2
- Heart disease costs the United States about $219 billion each year from 2014 to 2015.3 This includes the cost of health care services, medicines, and lost productivity due to death.
Coronary Artery Disease
- Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing 365,914 people in 2017.4
- About 18.2 million adults age 20 and older have CAD .3
- About 2 in 10 deaths from CAD happen in adults less than 65 years old.4
Early Action Is Important for Heart Attack
- In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds.3
- Every year, about 805,000 Americans have a heart attack.3 Of these,
- 605,000 are a first heart attack3
- 200,000 happen to people who have already had a heart attack3
- About 1 in 5 heart attacks is silentthe damage is done, but the person is not aware of it.3
What Factors Affect Risk For Women Differently
Women are more likely than men to have medical conditions or life issues that raise their risk for coronary heart disease.
- Anemia,especially during pregnancy
- Low levels of HDL cholesterol
- Mild to moderate high blood pressure
Visit The Heart Truth® to learn more about coronary heart disease risk factors for women and how to lower them.
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Emerging Issues In Heart Disease And Stroke
No national system exists to collect data on how often cardiovascular events occur or recur, or how often they result in disability and death. Similarly, there is inadequate tracking of quality indicators across the continuum of care, from risk factor prevention through treatment of acute events to posthospitalization and rehabilitation. New measures and tools are needed to monitor improvement in cardiovascular health and cardiovascular care over the next decade.
Other emerging issues in cardiovascular health include:
- Defining and measuring overall cardiovascular health
- Assessing and communicating lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease
- Addressing depression as a risk factor for and associated condition of heart disease and stroke
- Examining cognitive impairment due to cardiovascular disease
- Dealing with substantial gaps in the cardiovascular surveillance system
Aim For Healthy Blood Pressure And Cholesterol Numbers
Having healthy blood pressure and cholesterol ranges are some of the first steps you can take for a healthy heart. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury . A healthy blood pressure is considered less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, which is often expressed as 120 over 80 or 120/80 mm Hg. Systolic is the measurement of pressure while the heart is contracting. Diastolic is the measurement when the heart is resting. Higher numbers indicate that the heart is working too hard to pump blood.
Your ideal cholesterol level will depend on your risk factors and heart health history. If youre at a high risk of heart disease, have diabetes, or have already had a heart attack, your target levels will be below those of people with low or average risk.
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What Is Cardiac Rehabilitation
Cardiac rehabilitation is an important program for anyone recovering from a heart attack, heart failure, or some types of heart surgery. Cardiac rehab is a supervised program that includes
- Physical activity
- Education about healthy living, including healthy eating, taking medicine as prescribed, and ways to help you quit smoking
- Counseling to find ways to relieve stress and improve mental health
A team of people may help you through cardiac rehab, including your health care team, exercise and nutrition specialists, physical therapists, and counselors or mental health professionals.
Test your knowledge of heart disease!
How Is Coronary Artery Disease Diagnosed
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, tests for coronary artery disease may include the following:
Electrocardiogram . This test records the electrical activity of the heart, shows abnormal rhythms , and detects heart muscle damage.
Stress test . This test is given while you walk on a treadmill to monitor the heart during exercise. Breathing and blood pressure rates are also monitored. A stress test may be used to detect coronary artery disease, or to determine safe levels of exercise after a heart attack or heart surgery. This can also be done while resting using special medicines that can synthetically place stress on the heart.
Cardiac catheterization. With this procedure, a wire is passed into the coronary arteries of the heart and X-rays are taken after a contrast agent is injected into an artery. It’s done to locate the narrowing, blockages, and other problems.
Nuclear scanning. Radioactive material is injected into a vein and then is observed using a camera as it is taken up by the heart muscle. This indicates the healthy and damaged areas of the heart.
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Find Ways To Manage Stress
As simple as it sounds, managing stress can also lower your risk for heart disease. Dont underestimate chronic stress as a contributor to heart disease. Speak with your doctor if youre frequently overwhelmed, anxious, or are coping with stressful life events, such as moving, changing jobs, or going through a divorce.
Smoking And Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Smoking increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and peripheral vascular disease â which can lead to gangrene and limb amputation).
Smoking makes your blood âstickierâ, causing blood cells to clump together. This slows blood flow through your arteries and makes blockages more common. Blockages may cause heart attack and stroke.
Smoking also makes your artery walls sticky, causing them to become clogged with fatty material called plaque or atheroma. Smokers often have cold hands or feet as a result of clogged arteries, which may also lead to serious problems such as gangrene.
If your coronary artery becomes clogged, it can cause angina. If a blood clot forms in the narrowed coronary artery and completely blocks the blood supply to a part of your heart, it can cause a heart attack.
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What Can I Do To Prevent Heart Disease
There are many steps you can take to keep your heart healthy.
Try to be more physically active.Talk with your doctor about the type of activities that would be best for you. If possible, aim to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Every day is best. It doesn’t have to be done all at once.
Start by doing activities you enjoyâbrisk walking, dancing, bowling, bicycling, or gardening, for example. Avoid spending hours every day sitting.
If you smoke, quit.Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. Smoking adds to the damage to artery walls. It’s never too late to get some benefit from quitting smoking. Quitting, even in later life, can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer over time.
Follow a heart-healthy diet. Choose foods that are low in trans and saturated fats, added sugars, and salt. As we get older, we become more sensitive to salt, which can cause swelling in the legs and feet. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and foods high in fiber, like those made from whole grains. Get more information on healthy eating from NIA. You also can find information on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Patterns.
What Is A Stress Test
Symptoms of heart disease are often present during physical exertion, because the heart is stressed and doesn’t receive sufficient oxygen and nutrients. A stress test observes the behavior of the heart while the patient is walking or running on a treadmill. The patient is hooked up to an EKG machine to detect the heart’s activity before, during, and after the stress test. The test is 60% to 70% accurate in detecting blocked coronary arteries. Sometimes, a patient may be too weak or deconditioned to perform a stress test. In that case, the doctor can administer medications that simulate the heart activity during exercise. The patient remains stationary. The doctor may also use nuclear imaging or ultrasound to visualize the behavior of the heart.
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When To Call The Doctor
If you have any signs of heart disease, call your health care provider right away. Don’t wait to see if the symptoms go away or dismiss them as nothing.
- You have chest pain or other symptoms of a heart attack
- You know you have angina and have chest pain that doesn’t go away after 5 minutes of rest or after taking nitroglycerine
- You think you may be having a heart attack
- You become extremely short of breath
- You think you may have lost consciousness
Cardiovascular Diseases Are One Of The Biggest Health Risks That Could Lead To Complications It Is Vital To Know The Risk Factors In Order To Prevent A Heart Condition
Written by Editorial Team | Updated : October 21, 2021 10:22 AM IST
According to the World Health Organisation , India reported 63 per cent of deaths due to non-communicable diseases in 2016 out of which 27 per cent contributed to cardiovascular diseases . Also, the number of deaths resulting from cardiovascular disease is expected to go up to 4.77 million in 2020 from 2.26 million in 1990. With the lifestyle changes brought about by the pandemic, it is predicted that there will be a surge in cardiovascular disease in the months to come. Those at risk of cardiovascular disease may demonstrate high blood pressure, lipids, glucose as well as overweight and obesity. However, it is important to be aware of the risk factors to prevent premature death and receive proper treatment.
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