Heart disease is the top killer of women in the United States and throughout the world. Unfortunately, the media tends to focus on this important health issue in relation to men due to a perception of heart disease being solely a male problem. Although men experience heart disease at higher rates than women, heart issues are the leading cause of death for both sexes. To help you better understand how you can protect your own heart health, please take a look at the top strategies that women can use to reduce heart disease risk.

Manage Stress

Stress is one of the more poorly understood factors in heart disease. The research demonstrates a clear, undisputable connection between chronically elevated stress levels and heart disease. Some amount of stress in everyday life is acceptable and even beneficial in small doses, but many of us go through the entire day feeling on edge, with inflammatory hormones like cortisol pumping through our blood. The bottom line is that chronic stress is lethal for the heart over time. Learning how to relax, therefore, is essential for your heart health. Give guided meditation, individualized therapy, or other proven relaxation techniques a try. Your doctor can also recommend ideal ways to manage stress in a way that suits your own needs and preferences.

Exercise Every Day

Daily exercise goes hand-in-hand with stress management. When you exercise, even just by walking or other medium-impact aerobic work, you pump beneficial hormones throughout your body, increase oxygen levels, and burn calories which helps with weight management.

woman stretching legs sitting on yoga mat in living room.

Quit Smoking

The good news is that smoking rates among women and the rest of the population in the United States have been on the decline for several years thanks to public awareness campaigns, education initiatives in schools, and a greater understanding among the population regarding the health threat that smoking poses. If you are still one of the ranks of American smokers, consider making a serious decision to quit. Many modern medicine and therapies make achieving a tobacco-free lifestyle more attainable than ever before. Talk to your doctor to discuss the most current smoking cessation tactics that they might recommend.

How to Improve Heart Health and Reduce Disease Risk

Even if you are young, the time is now to begin taking proactive steps to ensure a healthy heart long into old age. Together, you and your doctor – now available digitally with telehealth appointments – can create an individualized healthy heart lifestyle plan.

Do you have more questions about preventing heart disease in the Willamette ValleyContact our friendly staff at WFMC Health or become a new patient today!

This post was first published on wfmchealth.org.