Alternative medicine (2)
- Chelation therapy for heart disease
- Herbal supplements may not mix with heart medicines
- Chagas disease
- Flu shots: Especially important if you have heart disease
- Myocardial ischemia
Lifestyle and home remedies (7)
- Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health
- Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease
- Menus for heart-healthy eating: Cut the fat and salt
- see all in Lifestyle and home remedies
- Couponing and other frugal food shopping tips
- Mediterranean diet: Choose this heart-healthy diet option
- Tool: Target heart rate calculator
- see all in Prevention
Risk factors (5)
- Metabolic syndrome
- Stress symptoms: Effects on your body, feelings and behavior
- Heart disease in women: Understand symptoms and risk factors
- see all in Risk factors
- Heart attack symptoms: Know what's a medical emergency
- see all in Symptoms
Tests and diagnosis (5)
- Blood tests for heart disease
- Cholesterol test
- C-reactive protein test
- see all in Tests and diagnosis
Treatments and drugs (5)
- Daily aspirin therapy: Understand the benefits and risks
- Drug-eluting stents: Do they increase heart attack risk?
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Heart disease in women: Understand symptoms and risk factors
Exercise to reduce the risk of heart disease in women
In general, you should do moderate exercise, such as walking at a brisk pace, for 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week. If you can't get all of your exercise completed in one session, it's fine to break up your physical activity into several 10- to 15-minute sessions. You'll still get the same heart-health benefits.
There are other small changes you can make to increase your physical activity throughout the day. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk or ride your bicycle to do errands, or try some sit-ups or push-ups while watching television.
What's a healthy weight?
What's considered a healthy weight varies from person to person, but having a normal body mass index (BMI) is helpful. This calculation helps you see if you have a healthy or unhealthy percentage of body fat. A BMI of 25 or higher can be associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Losing just 10 to 15 pounds can help by lowering your blood pressure and reducing your risk of diabetes — both of which increase your risk of heart disease.
Is the treatment for heart disease in women different than in men?
In some women, plaques build up as an evenly spread layer along artery walls, which isn't treatable using procedures such as angioplasty and stenting designed to flatten the bulky, irregular plaques in some men's arteries. For some women, drug treatment — rather than angioplasty or stenting — may be a better option.
Certain heart medications, such as clot-busting drugs (thrombolytics) tend to be more effective in women than in men. Aspirin therapy benefits both men and women, but there's also a difference between men and women in the effects of aspirin therapy. In women, aspirin therapy seems to reduce the risk of stroke more than in men, while in men it reduces the risk of heart attack more than it reduces stroke.
Taking aspirin to prevent heart disease in women
Guidelines from the American Heart Association urge women to be more aggressive about cutting their heart disease and stroke risks. A daily aspirin can have a number of benefits for women, such as preventing heart attacks and strokes and reducing heart disease risk.
The guidelines recommend that women consider taking aspirin — which means have a discussion with your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking aspirin based on your own individual stroke and heart attack risk. Don't start taking aspirin for heart disease prevention on your own. The higher your risk of heart attack or stroke, the more that risk is reduced by taking aspirin, but the higher your risk is of bleeding.Previous page
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- Mosca L, et al. Evidence-based guidelines for cardiovascular disease prevention in women: 2007 update. Circulation. 2007;49:1230.
- Douglas PS, et al. Determinants and management of cardiovascular risk in women. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Oct. 21, 2010.
- Lloyd-Jones D, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics: 2009 update. Circulation. 2009;119:e21.
- Frequently asked questions: Heart disease. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/heart-disease.pdf. Accessed Oct. 20, 2010.
- Douglas PS. Management of coronary heart disease in women. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Oct. 21, 2010.
- Douglas PS. Clinical features and diagnosis of coronary heart disease in women. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Oct. 21, 2010.
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Aspirin for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2009;150:396.