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What Can You Do to Decrease your Risk for Heart Disease?

Today we begin a series called "Heart Healthy for the Holidays".  Since heart disease is the number one killer of women and men in this country, we want our holiday gift to you to be information on how you can reduce your risk of this deadly and disabling condition. In the span of the time it takes you to read today's segment, 4 Americans will have a heart attack.  Fortunately, they won't all die, but heart disease is the number one killer of American men AND women. Yet, surveys show that most women don't consider heart disease an important health problem for them.  The good news is that many heart attacks could be prevented by modifying risky behavior.

  • First, if you smoke, just stop. Among women, smoking triples the risk of heart attack.
  • Control your cholesterol, blood pressure , blood sugar, weight and stress levels. Correct vitamin deficiencies.  Exercise consistently, in moderation. 
  • Healthy menopausal women should also ask their doctors about taking hormone replacement therapy which can cut the risk of heart disease in half.  While you're at it, ask your doctor if you should be taking an aspirin a day to reduce your risk further.
  • If you take medications for any chronic condition, take them regularly and according to the instructions. 
  • Finally, learn CPR.  This may allow you the privilege of saving someone else's life.

Created: 12/18/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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