According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer in women - it causes the death of 1 in 3 women each year, killing approximately one woman every minute. The reality is that only 1 in 5 American women believe that heart disease is their greatest health threat. Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from various forms of heart disease. When compared against the national average for the entire population, heart disease kills 1 in every 4 people.
The symptoms of heart disease are often misunderstood and can be different in women vs. men. With that, the gap between men and women's survival continues to widen, as women are far less likely to call 911 when experiencing symptoms of a heart attack themselves. It just does not occur to them to do so, as of the media attention on the disease focuses almost solely on men.
What causes heart disease?
Heart disease affects the blood vessels and cardiovascular system. Numerous problems can result, many of which are related to a process called atherosclerosis. This is a condition that develops when plaque builds up in the arterial walls. This buildup narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Many things can put a person at risk for heart problems – one's you can control, and others that you cannot. However, with the right information, education, and care, heart disease in women can be treated, prevented, and even ended.
The good news is that some studies show that healthy choices have resulted in 330 fewer women dying from heart disease per day. So, for the sake of your heart, here are a few lifestyle changes you should make:
Manage your blood sugar
Get your blood pressure under control
Lower your cholesterol
Know your family history
Lose or manage your weight
A Good Start – Eating Right
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association recommend eating a variety of nutritious foods from all food groups. Consuming a diversity of fruits and vegetables may help you control your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure. In addition, consuming foods rich in fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
To start on the path to eating right, consider a heart-healthy diet that includes avocados. This tasty green fruit contributes nearly 20 vitamins, minerals, fiber, and beneficial plant compounds that can enhance the nutrient quality of any diet. Avocados can be eaten alone or used in a variety of delicious recipes – from soups to salads to smoothies – all of which can fit into your sensible eating plan.
Substituting fresh avocado in sandwiches, on toast or as a spread in place of many other popular foods may help reduce intake of calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol. In honor of American Heart Month, here are some simple recipes to help get you started: