Today is Go Red for Women Day; it’s purpose is to raise awareness of the risks of heart disease, the number one killer of women over the age of 25.
We decided to ask an expert, Dr. Richard Stein, for advice on what women can do to ensure heart health. Dr. Stein is a Professor of Medicine and Cardiology at the New York University School of Medicine. He’s also the Director of the Exercise, Nutrition, and Cardiovascular Disease Program at the NYU Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease. He is the author of Outliving Heart Disease.
Here are Dr. Stein’s answers to our questions about heart health for women.
Lucille Roberts: What are the most important lifestyle choices women can make to keep their hearts healthy?
Dr. Richard Stein
Dr. Richard Stein: The most important two things are 1) to do a self-inventory of your coronary heart disease risk factor, and 2) to see a doctor to learn your blood pressure, your lipid (cholesterol) levels, and your fasting blood sugar, and, if necessary, to start lifestyle modifications or treatment for these things.
Essential lifestyle factors include not smoking, getting moderate exercise for at least ½ hour most days of the week or vigorous exercise for more than 45 minutes at least 3 times a week, and eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits and low in saturated fats. However, focusing only on healthy lifestyle factors would be a mistake because high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, and diabetes are BIG factors in treating, avoiding, and outliving heart disease.