Preventing Heart Disease
Heart disease in women may, at best, be harder to diagnose. At worst, it could go unrecognized. If you have symptoms or risk factors for heart disease, be clear about them with your doctor. Learn about your risk factors and how you can take control of those you can change.
There's a lot you can do to prevent health problems. Eat healthy, stay active and get enough sleep, along with having regular checkups. Seeing your doctor for routine preventive care can help identify health problems early, which is often when treatment could make the most difference.
Talk to your doctor about your specific health questions and concerns, and visit our preventive care website(Opens a new window) to view the health screening and immunization guidelines that are right for you. These, along with the advice of your doctor, can help you maintain or improve your health.
What you can do for your heart health
- Maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Get regular cholesterol screenings. Ask your doctor how often you should be tested. Ask questions about what the results mean.
- Monitor your blood pressure. Have your blood pressure checked at every doctor visit. High blood pressure does not have symptoms, so it’s important to be aware of your numbers.
- Control your diabetes. If you have diabetes, work with your doctor to keep your blood sugar level under control.
- Quit smoking. Smokers are more likely to develop heart disease than nonsmokers. But after you quit, your risk begins to drop.
- Exercise. Staying active is important to your overall health and well-being. Most healthy adults should aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise a week. Add strength exercises on two or more days a week. For safety’s sake, talk with your doctor before significantly increasing your activity level. If you’ve been inactive, start slowly. You might begin with exercising in 10-minute sessions. Gradually build from there.
- Eat healthfully. Make smart food choices for the best health benefits. Include plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Enjoy low-fat or fat-free versions of your favorite foods.
- Keep a healthy weight. Losing extra pounds can have a positive effect on your health. Your doctor can tell you what a healthy weight goal may be for you. Strive to eat well and stay active. If you’re struggling to reach a healthy weight, talk with your doctor about helpful strategies.
- Manage stress and anger. We all feel overwhelmed at times. Relaxation techniques can help. Try deep breathing, slow stretching, or imagine yourself in a peaceful setting.