A Woman’s Guide to beating Heart Disease The risk of heart attack and stroke increases with age, especially after menopause. It is important to note, however, that atherosclerosis, or plaque build-up in the arteries which can lead to heart and strokes, is a progressive disease that can begin as early as your teens and twenties. Check your risk First, get your blood cholesterol and blood pressure checked. The higher either of them is, the greater your risk for heart disease or heart attack. But your cholesterol (lipoprotein) profile tells only part of the story. Your doctor will use your profile in combination with other data, such as your medical history and family history of heart disease, to assess your risk and determine whether to recommend cholesterol-lowering medication. The following lifestyle changes can help women lower their risk for developing heart disease: •Lose weight Being overweight increases blood pressure, blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It also increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, a condition in which your body can’t use insulin to transport glucose into cells. Type 2 diabetes itself increases your risk for clogged arteries and heart attack. But don’t worry if you need to lose a lot of weight. Even losing five to ten percent of your body weight can make a difference. •Quit smoking Smokers have more than twice the risk for heart attack as do nonsmokers. The chemicals in cigarette smoke can shrink coronary arteries, making it tough for blood to circulate. Smoking can also cause the lining of blood vessels to become stickier, which makes blood clots more likely, which can cause stroke. •Get active At least thirty minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week does more than help you burn calories. •Change yo ur fats Switch the fat in your diet from butter and other saturated fats to liquid margarine, tub margarine, olive oil and canola oil. But use them sparingly because all fats are high in calories. Eat plenty of produce—a moderately active woman should eat at least three cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit daily. 46 www.nAPAVA L L E Y L I F E magaz ine. c o m advertorial feat ure Surveys show that few women perceive heart disease as their greatest health threat. Unfortunately it’s the nation’s number one killer, and women are its prime target. •Fiber up Oatmeal, whole-grain bread and other wholegrain foods are excellent sources of soluble fiber, which helps reduce LDL cholesterol. •Drink alcohol in moderation Women should limit alcohol to no more than one drink per day, the equivalent of 12 ounces of beer, 4 to 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof spirits. At Queen of the Valley Medical Center, protecting life’s most precious moments is a matter of the heart. We work closely with our skilled nurses and medical professionals, continually delivering the best care to Napa residents. As a result, our hospital continually ranks among the very best in Northern California, achieving both high medical standards and high levels of patient satisfaction. We invite you to connect with the right doctor for you at 877-449-DOCS (3627).
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