By Heather Maloney, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center staff
Heart disease is the number-one killer of women. In fact, nearly 37 percent of all female deaths in America are caused by cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to the American Heart Association.
The good news is that many of the risk factors for heart disease are controllable, so you can help lower your chance of developing CVD. And in many cases, making small life changes can have a big impact.
We’ve asked five top female cardiologists at BIDMC’s CardioVascular Institute to share their tips on what you can do today to protect your heart tomorrow:
1. Eat Your fish. The omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish not only increase your good cholesterol, but they have been proven to help brain function, memory, depression, circulation, and so much more. And fish-oil capsules are acceptable if you just can’t take that salmon! Dr. Francesca Delling, The CardioVascular Institute
2. Get Up and Get Moving! Exercise first thing in the morning, before the rest of your house is awake. That way, you make exercise part of your routine and can enjoy quiet time to yourself. You’ll also start the day with a burst of energy. Studies have also shown that exercising early, before breakfast, can help prevent weight gain and increase your body’s response to insulin (possibly lowering your risk of diabetes). Dr. Airley Fish, The CardioVascular Institute
3. Cut 100 Calories Each Day. We all know that we should maintain a healthy weight, but sometimes, losing those extra pounds can seem daunting. Look at it this way: if you cut 100 calories from your diet every day for a year, you’ll lose 10 pounds. Eliminate one can of regular soda (140 calories!) and you’re well on your way. Dr. Francine Welty, The CardioVascular Institute
4. Got Calcium? We know calcium is important, but new research suggests that you shouldn’t just rely on your daily supplement. A recent clinical trial followed people who took calcium supplements of 500 mg or more without vitamin D. The results suggest a 31 percent increase in the risk of heart attack among participants. While more research is needed, if you do require calcium, talk to your doctor about getting more of it through foods, such as yogurt, low-fat cheese, and broccoli. Dr. Loryn Feinberg, The CardioVascular Institute
5. Make Your Health #1. With so many women juggling busy work and home lives, it’s easy to put your own health on the backburner. Take ownership of you health and make it a priority. Make time to eat well, live well, exercise, and generally be in tune with your body. This approach will help prevent cardiovacular disease and help you to recognize any cardiovascular symptoms, should they develop. Dr. Lilian Joventino, The CardioVascular Institute
Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
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