When a woman turns 50, life can be more challenging when it comes to her health. Experts say that menopause and other hormonal changes in the body can cause worrisome symptoms. But staying heart healthy should be a priority, say cardiologists.
"As a cardiologist, I have devoted much of my career to being an advocate for women's heart health," Dr. Kevin Campbell, a noted cardiologist from North Carolina and author of "Women and Cardiovascular Disease: Addressing Disparities in Care," tells Newsmax. "While we have made great strides towards more equitable care in the last decade, women with heart disease remain under-treated and under-served.
"While more women than men die every year from heart disease, many still think heart disease is only a disease of men. We must do more to educate patients, families, physicians, and women that they are at risk and must better understand these risks and how to modify them."
Here are some strategies to mitigate your risk of heart disease:
- Make sure your heart is healthy. The first step, according to Well + Good, is to have a checkup with your physician. This should include medical history, blood pressure check, and a heart exam, along with bloodwork.
- Move your body. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity weekly, says cardiologist Dr. Matthew Budoff, professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "Exercise is the most important for women over 50 as it helps with cognition, heart disease, and bone strength, which is especially important as we age," he said.
- Eat more garlic. Budoff says he has found "garlic may have the single best impact on heart health than any other known dietary supplement." He adds that research has shown aged garlic extract can help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and even help remove plaque buildup from arteries. "Garlic also reduces bad cholesterol levels," he said, according to Well + Good.
- Get enough sleep. Budoff says that insufficient sleep increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. "We all know proper sleep allows the body to repair itself," he says. "Sleep is very important for a healthy heart."
- Practice good oral hygiene. Diligent brushing and flossing help keep the bacteria in your mouth from traveling into the bloodstream and causing dangerous inflammation, which can lead to heart attack and stroke, says Budoff.
- Build a support system. Changing your lifestyle isn't easy, say the experts, according to Well + Good. Having a strong support system can help you stay on track. This could mean organizing a walking group with neighbors and friends or having a recipe exchange to share healthy ideas for mealtimes.
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