Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease: Give Your Heart Some Love
Celebrate February by prioritizing your heart’s well-being and giving your heart some love by embracing a lifestyle that promotes heart health to reduce your risk of heart disease. Take advantage of American Heart Month to schedule your routine checkups. In addition to your annual screening mammogram, this may include essential screening tests for the leading cause of women’s mortality — heart disease.
In women’s health, cardiovascular disease, also known as coronary artery disease (CAD) or simply heart disease, poses the most significant threat. Surpassing the collective deaths caused by all cancers, it constitutes one-third of all female fatalities, standing as the primary cause of mortality among women.
Get Your Numbers
According to the American Heart Association, the risk of cardiovascular disease can be significantly reduced with the effective management of health-related behaviors and risk factors. Included in this category are things like a healthy diet, exercise, stopping smoking, losing weight, blood pressure, total cholesterol, glucose levels, and getting quality sleep. To determine your unique risk factors, ask your healthcare provider to perform screening tests at routine checkups. The results will provide valuable information and provide an opportunity to make healthy improvements to your lifestyle.
Own Your Lifestyle
Women can experience significant benefits by making lifestyle adjustments geared toward improving their cardiovascular health. Weight management is especially important since shedding excess weight can lessen the amount of strain placed on your heart and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Incorporating regular physical activity into your daily routine not only helps you lose weight but also strengthens the muscle in your heart, improves blood circulation, and helps regulate blood pressure. As an added incentive, encourage your girlfriends to join you for activities like a walk, bike ride, hike, or your favorite fitness class. Exercise with your girl squad transforms physical activity into an enjoyable and social part of your lifestyle, making it easier to stay committed and motivated.
Additionally, it is important to embrace a heart-healthy diet and ensure you get enough good-quality sleep. A healthy weight and proper nutrient intake from a balanced diet go hand in hand with keeping the heart healthy. Nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins should predominate your diet while minimizing saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium. Inadequate sleep has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease; therefore, getting enough quality sleep should be a top priority. In the long run, your heart health and your body’s ability to recover are both improved when you establish and maintain a regular sleep schedule and create a relaxing sleep environment. Give your heart some love by integrating these lifestyle adjustments, and empower yourself by taking charge of your heart health.
Realize Your Risk
As much as we’d like to think that heart disease will never happen to us, the stark reality of the numbers suggests otherwise. Astonishingly, heart disease claims the lives of one in three women, emphasizing the urgency of awareness as the first line of defense. Understanding your risk and proactively safeguarding your heart health could very well be the ultimate version of self-care.
For women between the ages of 45 and 70 who possess one or more prevalent risk factors for heart disease, supplementary examinations, like a coronary artery calcium scoring, commonly known as a heart scan, are recommended. This procedure aids in the early detection of coronary heart disease within the heart’s arteries. Common risk factors encompass elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, insufficient physical activity, chest pain, diabetes, smoking, obesity, stress, a family history of heart disease, as well as a personal history of a heart attack or stroke.
Educate Your Friends and Family
Lead by example; you can show your friends and family the value of being proactive about heart health and living a full life by opting for nutritious food choices for yourself and your family, educating your children about the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle, demonstrating the value of regular checkups, and making significant lifestyle modifications that promote cardiovascular health.
Don’t Be Silent
Empower the women in your life by sharing this information to collectively raise awareness and inspire proactive measures to prevent heart disease. Take advantage of every opportunity to encourage your girlfriends to embrace an active lifestyle, opt for healthier food options like salads instead of burgers, and have meaningful conversations on how to incorporate healthier choices into your lives to reduce your risk of heart disease.
American Heart Month serves as a timely reminder for every woman to take charge of her cardiovascular well-being. Let’s make February a month for not only showing love to others but for nurturing our own hearts as well.
About CRL Women’s Imaging
CRL Women’s Imaging is a leader in outpatient imaging and designated as Breast Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR). Our team of dedicated, board-certified breast imagers with broad expertise and a genuine interest in breast imaging and our knowledgeable technologists certified in mammography and ultrasound are committed to provide our patients with the high-quality compassionate care they can trust.
“Early detection of breast cancer saves lives. And with the tools of 3D mammography/tomosynthesis and supplemental screening breast ultrasound we are better equipped than ever to positively impact women’s health.” – Jillian Karow, MD, Medical Director, CRL Women’s Imaging