Many people think women are less prone to heart disease than men; however, this disease remains the primary cause of death in women. More women die from heart disease than cervical or breast cancer. In fact, women are more prone to die from a heart attack than men are because the symptoms of a heart attack in women are much different than in men. Women typically do not experience chest pain. Furthermore, artery blockages in women usually occur in smaller arteries. This can prevent a blockage from being detected during an angiogram or other heart function tests.
Omega 3 fatty acids are healthy fats that have been shown to reduce systemic inflammation. Systemic inflammation can damage the blood vessels in the body and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Regular exercise, healthy eating, and taking the best omega 3 supplements can help reduce the risk of heart disease in women.
In addition to systemic inflammation, there are several risk factors that can make a woman more prone to heart disease. These include:
1. Alcohol - Although consuming alcohol in moderation is okay for most women, overindulging can cause atrial fibrillation and high blood pressure. However, low to moderate consumption of alcohol may help lower the risk of diabetes as well as increasing good cholesterol levels. Women should limit their consumption of alcohol to no more than one drink per day, according to the American Heart Association. Furthermore, when choosing an alcoholic beverage, it is recommended that women opt for red wine because of its cardioprotective compounds.
2. Birth control - Birth control pills that contain estrogen can increase the risk of blood clotting and can increase a woman’s blood pressure. Women over the age of 35 or women who smoke should avoid combination oral contraceptives which contain both progestin and estrogen. Women who are at risk of developing heart disease should ask their doctor which birth control method they should choose. Typically, the woman’s physician will recommend progestin only birth control, IUDs, or condoms.
3. Hormone therapy - Hormone therapy is used by menopausal women to regulate hormone levels and relieve the symptoms of menopause. The Women’s Health Initiative states that hormone replacement therapy increases the risk of heart disease, breast cancer, blood clots, urinary incontinence, and stroke. If you must use hormone replacement therapy, use the lowest dose possible for the shortest amount of time.
4. Sedentary lifestyle - A sedentary lifestyle impacts all areas of your life. It can increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Physical inactivity is one of the leading preventable risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease. It is estimated that between 60 and 85 percent of individuals worldwide lead a sedentary lifestyle. To help you to reduce the risk of developing heart disease, get out, and get moving. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days to improve your heart health and protect against high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and cardiovascular disease.
6. Tobacco products - The number one preventable cause of cardiovascular disease in America is cigarette smoking. The smoke produced from tobacco contains high levels of carbon monoxide and a host of other chemicals that can increase the risk of high blood pressure, aneurysms, strokes, heart attacks, and blood clots.
Heart disease affects millions of women each year. Becoming physically active, taking an omega 3 supplement, decreasing stress levels, and limiting alcohol consumption can improve heart health. In addition to this, avoid using tobacco products, hormone replacement therapy, and birth control pills that contain estrogen to decrease your risk of developing heart disease.