What's Your Risk?

By taking the following women's heart health quiz, you can determine your general risk for heart disease.

  • My age:
    Under 65 (0 points)
    Over 65 (2 points)

Help offset your risk for heart disease by getting plenty of physical activity, eating nutritiously, seeing your doctor regularly and managing stress.

  • I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
    No. My blood pressure is normal. (0 points)
    Yes. I have high blood pressure. (2 points)

Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or below; those with blood pressure greater than 140/90 should consult a physician.

  • I have been diagnosed with diabetes.
    No (0 points)
    Yes (2 points)

Diabetes, which is defined as a fasting blood sugar level of 110 or above, can increase your risk for heart disease.

  • My cholesterol level is:
    Below 200 mg/dL (0 points)
    201 – 239 mg/dL (1 point)
    Above 240 mg/dL (2 points)
    I don't know my cholesterol level (2 points)

Have your blood cholesterol level check regularly. A level of 240 mg/dL or above roughly doubles your risk of coronary artery disease.

  • I have a family history of heart disease.
    No. (0 points)
    Yes (3 points)

Healthy habits such as eating right, not smoking and exercising regularly are especially important if you have a family history of heart disease. We can't change the genes we're born with, but we can work to eliminate all controllable risk factors.

  • My body weight is:
    About right or slightly less than norm. (0 points)
    Over the norm by less than 20 pounds. (1 point)
    Over the norm by more than 20 pounds. (2 points)

Keeping your weight within normal range increases your chances of good health and a longer life. Studies have found that obese people (more than 30 pounds overweight) are more prone to develop higher blood pressure, enlarged hearts, and thicker wall in the heart's pumping chambers. A low-fat diet coupled with plenty of physical activity can help prevent these conditions.

  • My normal exercise pattern is:
    An hour a day, at least 4 times a week. (0 points)
    3 or 4 hours a week, but all at once. (1 point)
    I only walk around the house/office. (2 points)

Just 30 minutes of activity (such as swimming, bicycling, or a brisk walk) at least four times a week can help maintain heart health.

  • My eating habits:
    I eat nutritious foods and indulge in sweets/fats only occasionally. (0 points)
    I don't plan meals, which means I could eat more healthfully. (1 point)
    I eat whatever I want to eat, even if it's high in saturated fats or calories. (2 points)

To maintain good overall health, eat low-fat, high-fiber foods at every meal.

  • My tobacco use:
    I don't smoke, or I quit more than three years ago. (0 points)
    I smoke one pack a day. (4 points)
    I smoke two or more packs a day. (5 points)

If you've never smoked or have completely quit, congratulations! If you do smoke, stop now! Studies show that three years after quitting smoking, your heart becomes almost as healthy as it would have if you'd never smoked at all.

Women's Heart Health Quiz Results:

7 or fewer points:
Good job! You're at reduced risk for heart disease, but it's still a good idea to visit your physician on a regular basis and get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked. Keep exercising regularly and continue good eating habits.

8 -14 points:
You may be at moderate risk for heart disease. See your physician regularly for exams and to get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked. With lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, eating low-fat foods, and staying active, there's room for improvement – and a healthier heart!

15-22 points:
Unfortunately, you may be at risk for heart disease. See your physician soon and discuss the answers you gave to this quiz. Take a positive approach, starting today – change your lifestyle to incorporate physical activity that you enjoy, eat flavorful low-fat and high-fiber foods, and if you smoke, quit right now.

If you wish you scored better on your test, talk with your physician about your heart health and ask the following nine questions. If you need a physician, call Meridian Health Line at 1-800-DOCTORS for a free referral.