A Women's Best Approacth to Heart Health

Some women have a family health history that predisposes them to a risk of heart disease. Knowing your family history and sharing that with your physician is extremely important, so that he or she can monitor your health with appropriate cardiac screening tests.

But there are other, more easily controlled, factors that can help prevent heart disease:

Smoking is a factor in about half of heart attacks in middel aged women. A woman who smokes and uses birth control pills increases her risk of heart disease even higher.

High blood pressure is a risk factor that can be controlled through diet and, if necessary, medication.

Women with diabetes are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, so it is essential that this disease be controlled with diet or medication and appropriate weight management.

41% of overweight women are not physically active during their leisure time, leading to a 30-50% greater risk of developing high blood pressure.

Genetic risk factors make African American women, as a group, particularly vulnerable to a higher pre-disposition for heart disease and stroke.