An Early Valentine

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Be Heart Savvy at Any Age

Facts First: Heart disease is a woman’s number 1 health risk. 80% of heart attacks & strokes ARE preventable.  Stopping smoking can reduce heart attacks by more than 40%. Enjoying 1 ounce of nuts five days a week can reduce heart disease risks.  If a parent or sibling has heart disease before age 55 for men & 65 for women- your risk increases.

Know the Signs:  Symptoms for women can be very different than those for men.  Chest Pain, although is a main sign for both men and women, women are more likely to experience the following:

Shoulder, neck, jaw, upper back or arm pain / Unexplained light-headedness or dizziness, fainting sometimes accompanied by palpitations / Unusual fatigue, weakness or inability to perform simple activities / A shortness of breath or trouble breathing without chest discomfort / Sometimes, even “flu” like systems or a feeling of being unwell, down to even stomach pain, abdominal pressure or nausea

Know Your Numbers at ALL Ages:  Get to know your weight, blood-pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels even your waist line.  By keeping track of just these numbers you’ll be able to see trends and areas of opportunity to work towards healthier directions.  Keep a log. (Every 6 months get them checked, some you can get checked for free, most pharmacy’s these days have blood-pressure machines, some even offer free cholesterol and blood sugar level screenings)

20’s-30’s

Start NOW.  This is when you should be talking to your doctor and learning just what your risk factors may be from looking at your diet, physical activity to your family history. Learn your numbers now and you’ll have a base line for life to measure from. Yes, these will change as you age, however, some numbers like your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels should always remain in healthful ranges no matter the age.

Know that weight and your waist line will fluctuate as you age. In our 20’s & 30’s, we women are having children and are far more active than say compared to those of us in our 50’s. Always shoot for a healthy weight at any age. Just remember there’s going to be up’s and down’s due to life events.

40’s

Hormones! As you enter perimenopause, estrogen levels begin to lower so you have less of its protective effects.  Now’s the time to establish that strong relationship with your doctor.  Especially one trained in tracking heart disease risk factors.  Remember, back in your 20’s-30’s you were keeping an eye on your numbers. Here’s where being proactive with your health will pay off in dividends. You’ll be able to notice and see any changes and make corrections as needed while working with your doctor.

This is also the perfect time to focus on your diet and lifestyle. Meaning, use this window of opportunity and your still well working metabolism to establish healthful eating habits.   For example, start to lean more towards Whole Foods and Plant Based foods vs pre-packed or a diet high in animal proteins. If you do want to enjoy animal proteins, chose fish, organic chicken or turkey.

Something else to focus on is your waist line. (It goes back to knowing your numbers) For the average woman, a waist of 35 inches or up is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. (For the men it’s 40 inches) 

Blood Sugar Levels: At age 45, your risk of type 2 diabetes goes up too. This is where diet and lifestyle start to play a more prominent role in your hearth health.

Cholesterol:  Perimenopause and menopause can increase your LDL (Bad cholesterol) and decrease your HDL (Good cholesterol).  Exercise is a great way to counter act this effect as is a healthful diet full of fresh organic fruits and veggies and healthy fats. For the exercise, shoot for no less than 30 minutes a day and a minimum of 3 times a week.  Ideal is 30 minutes every day!

Stress:  Keep that at a minimum.  You feel that pressure of balancing your work life with your family life, know that you’re not alone in this.  Research is showing that more and more women are feeling uncontrolled anxiety and depression.  This is an unfortunate underlying cause of heart disease, in part because of the rising levels of cortisol; this enhances the buildup of plaque in your arteries.  You CAN lessen the damage by weaving stress relief into your daily or weekly schedule. A few simple examples are, listening to music, doing yoga, deep breathing, meditation or even a simple walk with your 4-legged pal.

50’s – 60’s

At age 51 a women’s risk for heart disease goes up due to menopause, and sadly starts to match that of men’s risks.  For us women at this age it’s especially important to keep our heart health conversation going with our doctors.

Our Advantages: Less stress.  Starting in our early 50’s we start to have more free time and we put it to good use. More exercise and more quality time with family as well as volunteer our time.  Research is showing that people over 50 who volunteer about four hours a week are 40% less likely to develop high blood pressure or heart disease.

By the way, new guidelines for Blood pressure have been released.  They are as follows:     

 130/80 is considered “high” vs 140/90 (in the past).   

Sleep: Get a good night’s sleep!  Those who sleep as few as 6 hours a night can be more at risk for heart disease than those who sleep 6-8 hours.  For women, if menopause-related night sweats are part of your problem try these tips.

Lower your bedroom temp to 68 degrees / drink more water throughout your day / watch your sugar intake (Keep your sugar intake to 4-9 teaspoons a day) / cut back on your coffee, keep it to one a day / consider getting your hormone levels tested and try different methods to help regulate – Bio-identical creams, estrogen patches just to name a few

Bottom Line-Kris’s Take:

It’s all about your numbers and knowing your own body, as well as having an open and honest relationship with your doctor. The more you know your own body and become your own expert, the more likely you’ll know when somethings off or not right.  Start NOW to learn about YOUR body, don’t wait till it’s too late and you HAVE to be reactive with your heart health vs proactive.  Learn the signs and symptoms as well, not just for yourself but your friends and loved ones. You just never know when you may be called upon to call 911 and save a life, it just might be your own you’re saving.

Interested in learning more about this or other health related topics? Want to learn what your Body Blueprint is?

Contact me and lets schedule your FREE 1-hour consultation today!

In Health & Peace,

Kris

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