Heart Disease and Stroke are the leading causes of death for women. More than half a million women in the United States die every year from heart disease and stroke.
African-American women are at an even greater risk. Their death rate from coronary heart disease is more than 35% higher than for Caucasian women, and the death rate from stroke is 71% higher. As women reach menopause the risk of heart attack rises significantly, and the rate of heart attacks for women equal that for men.
The good news is that heart disease and stroke are largely preventable. The following are some of the risk factors for heart disease that can be changed, treated or modified to lower your risk.
More than half of all American women are not physically active enough. Active women are less likely to develop heart disease than those who are inactive and overweight. If you are not active, get moving! For at lease 30-60 minutes, three times a week, walk, jog, swim, or any aerobic exercise.
Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death and women who smoke have a much higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Second-hand smoke can also increase your risk. Even if you have smoked for many years, if you quit now, your risk of heart disease immediately drops.
Lower Your Cholesterol
A high level of cholesterol in the blood is a major risk factor for heart attack, and indirectly increases your risk of stroke.