How a Woman Can Protect Her Heart at Every Age
Women of all ages should be taking steps to avoid heart disease. The obvious issues are eating healthy, exercising and reducing stress. However, there are steps you can take as you age that will help you to be heart healthy.
Twenties. In your twenties, you need to get rid of any nasty habits you may have acquired, such as smoking. Smoking just one cigarette per day can stiffen your arteries by up to 25 percent. And, smoking can erase the hormonal advantage you have from estrogen in your body. Another thing to consider is the taking of birth control pills. Birth control pills can raise your risk of blood clots. Finally, if you drink, you need to limit your drinking to one drink per day. If you drink more than that, it can raise your triglyceride level, increase your blood pressure and lead to weight gain.
Thirties. If you have had a baby, you need to strive to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight within one to two years. Excess weight can lead to high blood pressure and high cholesterol as you age. You also need to try to control any stress you may have in your life, especially if you are juggling a career with family. You can do that by keeping connected to your family as well as friends, and allow yourself time to be social and have some fun.
Forties. In your forties, your hormone levels may start fluctuating and interfere with a good night’s sleep. It is very important at this stage of your life that you get at least seven hours sleep per night. Lack of sleep can contribute to high blood pressure, low-grade inflammation, and higher levels of stress hormones. In your forties, you will start to lose some of your muscle mass which will cause your metabolism to slow down and, therefore, make it harder to keep those extra pounds off. So, if you are not already doing so, add some strength training to your exercise program.
Fifties. In your fifties, menopause will settle in and you will probably notice more belly fat, which can lead to insulin resistance, inflammation and heart strain. At this point in your life, it’s going to take even more exercise t keep off those excess pounds. Also, as you get older, your digestive system tends to slow down. So, at this point in your life, you may need to add more fiber to your diet.
Sixties. As you get into your sixties, it is important for you to keep track of such things as your cholesterol levels and your blood pressure. Make it a point to get these checked regularly by your doctor. If your levels are averaging on the high side, you may need to start some medication to keep them under control Again, consult with your doctor. Also talk to your doctor about the symptoms of heart problems and be alert to those symptoms. If you notice things such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath or changes in exercise tolerance, get yourself to a doctor immediately!