If you are a woman in the United States, chances are you are very aware of your risk for breast cancer, cervical cancer, osteoporosis and other conditions affecting women’s health. However, how aware are you of your risks for heart disease? You may be surprised to learn that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in the United States. Each year, cardiovascular disease claims the lives of over 432,000 women in the United States, and more than 200,000 women in America die as a result of heart attacks every year. Cardiovascular disease is often referred to as a “silent killer.” That is because many people do not even know they have it until it is too late.
Now that we have gotten your attention, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The first is to visit your doctor to get a complete physical, including labwork. Checking your blood pressure is an important component of a physical and untreated high blood pressure increases the risk for cardiovascular disease. High LDL cholesterol levels have also been linked to cardiovascular disease. The doctor can test your cholesterol levels using a blood test. Diabetes is also a risk factor for heart disease. If you have diabetes, it is important to keep your blood sugar in check and to visit your doctor for regular check-ups.
In many cases, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Diabetes Type II can be effectively treated with lifestyle modifications. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight can keep these medical problems in check for many people. Many patients are able to reduce or eliminate blood pressure medications and/or cholesterol medications by simply losing weight. For others, blood pressure and cholesterol medications are still needed to maintain healthy levels. Visit your doctor today to get more information about how you can decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease.