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Why Women Need to Worry More About These Heart Attack Risks Than Men

7 minute read


Heart attacks and heart disease are among the leading causes of death in the United States. The trouble with cardiovascular problems is that they can affect anyone of any age, sex, or race.

The risk factors for heart attacks are commonly known, but it seems that some of these risk factors have a greater impact on women over men. This makes it imperative for all women to know what they need to specifically be aware of.

The Bigger Risk Factors for Women

What is most interesting about heart attacks and the sexes is that men are at greater risk of heart attack, some of the risk factors have a greater impact on women then they do in men. Studies have found that numerous factors, such as diabetes, smoking, and high blood pressure, impact women more than men when it comes to heart attack risk.

Diabetes and heart attacks: Over time, the high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes can damage blood vessels and the nerves that control them. Women with diabetes tend to develop heart disease at a much younger age than normal.

While heart disease occurs more often in diabetics for both genders, it appears to be more dominant among women and is the leading cause of death for diabetic women.

Smoking and heart attacks: Smoking damages the lining of your arteries, which can lead to the buildup of fatty deposits. These deposits obstruct blood flow and increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.

The longer you smoke, the greater your risk. For women, the risk is already higher, as they are 25 percent more likely to develop heart disease as a result of smoking.

Blood pressure and heart attacks: The excess strain placed on blood vessels and the heart from hypertension contributes to heart disease. Fatty plaques can grow in these circumstances causing obstructions and further strain on the heart.

High blood pressure is riskier for women than it is for men and contributes to more heart-related deaths each year among the fairer sex.

What Women Can Do About It

The same risks exist for men and women when it comes to heart disease, but some of them take a greater toll on women. Diabetes, hypertension, and smoking all put women at greater risk for heart attack and stroke, which means women need to pay more attention to the heart health in these circumstances.

If you are in a high-risk category, you have heart-healthy options to help you promote cardiovascular health and ward off heart disease no matter how high the risks.

1. Quit smoking: With smoking being a bigger risk for women, the best approach to heart health is to quit. Quitting promotes overall health and longevity, and the good news is that you can see the benefits right away.

There are so many other risk factors for heart attack that you cannot control, so you should at least remove the one you can.

2. Lose weight: Obesity can cause diabetes, and this is another high-risk factor for women. In addition to this, the extra pounds places greater strain on your heart.

Following a balanced diet and getting regular exercise will help shed unwanted pounds and reduce your risk for heart disease.

3. Eat more fish: Salmon, tuna, and herring are all excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are powerful antioxidants that help protect your heart from free radical damage.

Adding plenty of omega-3s to your diet is a great tasting way to ward off heart disease and other serious diseases linked to oxidative damage.

4. Laugh more: It will take more than just typing LOL in a text, you need to laugh out loud every once in a while. Laughter is the best medicine when it comes to relieving stress, a top contributor to poor heart health.

| Related: New Research Shows Why Women Live Longer Than Men on Average |

Stress hormones cause inflammation, damaging arteries and increasing strain on the heart. Put on a funny movie or tell jokes with friends and laugh your risk for heart attack away.

5. Pass on the salt: Humans love salt. That said, if everybody in the country cut salt intake to half a teaspoon a day, the number of deaths by heart disease would dramatically decrease. You might make the effort to pass on adding salt at home, but the trouble lurks outside your home too.

There are too many processed, packaged, and fast foods out there, which are all loaded with salt. Many restaurants add salt to dishes as well. To truly cut salt intake, you need to avoid convenience foods and opt for fresh and natural. You can also switch things up by using herbs and spices to flavor foods.

6. Know your numbers: If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure, it is important to watch your numbers—blood pressure numbers, triglyceride numbers, and blood glucose numbers.

| Related: What Every Woman Should Know About Menopause |

This is especially true for women, since diabetes and hypertension pose a greater threat to them. Keeping an eye on your numbers helps you maintain your health and keeps the risk of heart attack or stroke at bay.

7. Make time for breakfast: When you start the day off with a healthy, balanced, and nutritious meal, the tone for the day is set and your body functions more efficiently. A healthy breakfast promotes optimal metabolism as well as weight loss.

It also gives your heart a healthy kick-start every morning. You should opt for whole grains, like oatmeal over packaged cereals, or try eggs, turkey bacon, low-fat yogurt, peanut butter, and fresh fruits.

The Bottom Line

Heart disease is among the leading causes of death every year in this country. The mortality rate for heart attack is higher in men, but this is not the case when risk factors like diabetes and hypertension are in play.

Certain risk factors weigh much heavier on women, and additional care needs to be taken in this case. The better women take care of their heart, the better their chances of beating heart disease will be.

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