Manage Yourself

Healthy Lifestyle
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important to your future health, and your weight is an important part of this. Overweight women are much more likely to develop heart-related problems, even if they have no other risk factors. A long-term study showed even a modest weight gain of 11 to 17 pounds after age 18 significantly increases a woman's risk of coronary heart disease. Good nutrition and proper exercise are also important in maintaining a healthy heart. As little as 30 minutes of moderate activity on most, and preferably all, days is helpful.

For most women, commitment to healthy life habits is basically what it takes to prevent or control heart disease. 

Chart your plan to better heart health by doing the following:

  • Cut back on foods high in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, and eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Be more physically active.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Get your blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels checked.
  • If you smoke, stop.

Smoking Cessation
If you're concerned about your heart health, it's time to quit smoking. According to the American Heart Association, cigarettes are the leading cause of preventable deaths in this country. Surprisingly, out of the women who smoke in the United States, almost as many die from heart disease as from lung cancer. Women smokers are two to six times more likely to suffer a heart attack as non-smoking women, and the risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked. Smoking also boosts the risk of stroke.

Stress Management
Everyone feels stress. Responsibilities associated with work, family and the larger community combine to render our population the most "stressed out" in recent history. The good news is that if you are feeling stress, there are ways you can reduce it, thus lowering your risk for heart disease. Consult your physician to learn more.

Feeding Your Needs
You are what you eat, at least when it comes to your heart. Eating balanced nutritious meals lessens your risk of heart disease in three ways: by reducing high blood cholesterol levels, controlling high blood pressure and taking off extra pounds.

Use these guidelines to help you choose a tasty and healthful diet:

  • Eat a variety of foods.
  • Balance the food you eat with physical activity – maintain or improve your weight.
  • Choose a diet with plenty of grain products, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Choose a diet low in fat saturated fat, and cholesterol, and moderate in sugars, salt, and sodium.
  • If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.

Get Moving
According to the USDA's Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the physical activities listed below can help reduce your risk of heart disease:

  • Walking at a brisk pace (three to four miles per hour)
  • Conditioning or general calisthenics
  • Racket sports such as badminton and table tennis
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Golf (pulling a cart or carrying your clubs)
  • Jogging
  • Swimming (moderate effort)
  • Cycling (moderate speed: 10 miles per hour or less)
  • Gardening
  • Housework
  • Dancing