How can women reduce their risk of developing heart disease?
Talk to your doctor about controlling your cholesterol and triglycerides. Even short “doses” of activity are good for your heart. Regular, daily physical activity can lower the risk of heart disease. Physical activity helps control your weight.
It also reduces the chance of developing other conditions that can put a strain on the heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. Obesity, particularly in the middle of the body, increases the risk of heart disease. Being overweight can lead to conditions that increase the chance of developing heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. The body mass index (BMI) uses height and weight to determine whether a person is overweight or obese.
A BMI of 25 or higher is considered overweight and is generally associated with higher cholesterol, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Even a small weight loss can be beneficial. Reducing weight by just 3 to 26 percent to 5 to 26 percent can help lower certain fats in the blood (triglycerides), lower blood sugar (glucose) and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Losing even more helps lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.
If you’re between 18 and 39 years old and have risk factors for high blood pressure, you’ll likely be screened once a year. People aged 40 and over are also tested annually for blood pressure. Watch this educational video from the FDA Office of Women’s Health to learn more about cardiovascular disease and women’s heart health.