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Women’s Heart Health—Staying Healthy

A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are a few ways to reduce your risk for heart disease:

  • Quit smoking. Smokers have a much greater risk for a heart attack than nonsmokers.
  • Keep your blood pressure in check. Make slight adjustments to your diet-keep alcohol and salt intake to a minimum, and increase the number of fruits and vegetables you eat. It’s also a good idea to consume low-fat or non-fat dairy products that have potassium, magnesium, fiber and calcium, such as skim milk, yogurt and pudding.
  • Control your weight. A healthy diet-not joining a fad diet or taking diet pills-can help. Be sure to eat lots of vegetables, fruits and grains, and limit the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet.
  • If you’re diabetic, monitor and control your blood sugar levels.
  • Tell stress to take a hike. Relax by exercising, chatting with friends or practicing breathing techniques.
  • Exercise regularly. Just a 30-minute walk every day helps improve your health.

How your doctor can help you

Be sure to talk to your primary care physician about how heart disease can affect you:

  • Learn your heart disease risks and your family’s heart disease history
  • Birth control pills may not be for you if you have a history of blood clots, a heart attack, stroke or another heart disease
  • If you are over 50, ask about aspirin therapy
  • If you are post-menopausal, ask about hormone replacement therapy
  • Discuss your risk factors for stroke, especially if you’ve had a mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack, or TIA)
  • Find out whether vascular screens or heart CT scans are right for you

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For comprehensive cardiac care, ask your cardiologist to refer you to ECMC.

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