A Decade-by-Decade Guide to Women's Healthy Heart
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A Decade-by-Decade Guide to Women's Healthy Heart

Post by on Wednesday, June 30, 2021

First slide
Dr Farooq Ganie
Heart disease is often thought to be more of a problem for men. However, it's the most common cause of death for both women and men. The Heart disease risk increases with age. The choices you make in the first half of your life can really impact your health and freedom from chronic diseases in the second half of your life. Prevention is key. The earlier you start taking steps to reduce your heart disease risk, the better shape your cardiovascular system is likely to be in for the long haul. Eighty percent of acquired heart disease is preventable, according to the American Heart Association. What can you do to beat this killer? Follow this decade-by-decade guide to keep your heart healthy.
Your twenties and thirties: Lay the Foundation for Good Health
 During your prime childbearing years, you’re less likely to have artery-clogging cholesterol buildup, thanks to plentiful amounts of estrogen. This powerful hormone helps keep arteries flexible and blood cholesterol levels low. Still, if during pregnancy you develop high blood pressure, preeclampsia  (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure), or gestational diabetes   (pregnancy-related diabetes), or if you give birth preterm (before 37 weeks), then  you’re at increased risk for cardiovascular disease later in life. Studies have   found that women with preeclampsia had a four-fold increased risk of heart failure   and two-fold increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and death due to cardiovascular disease later in life.
What to Do?  
If you developed high blood pressure, preeclampsia, or gestational diabetes, or gave birth preterm, see a primary care physician after your baby is born. Physician’s mission is to identify and track your risk factors, including blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels closely,
Eat to defeat heart disease: Get into the habit of eating healthy food which is loaded with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein such as fish, and healthy unsaturated fats. Since you’ve got time on your side, developing heart healthy lifelong   eating habits in your twenties and thirties can help keep your arteries clear.
Don’t smoke and carve out time to exercise, regular 30 minutes’ walk. Taking these steps early on can be lifesaving later.  It’s a busy time in life, especially if you’re raising a family and working full time, but the things you do now can really impact how healthy you’re going to be in your sixties and seventies.
Your Forties: Keep Track of Your Health mark
Unless you enter menopause in your forties, your risk of heart disease generally remains low throughout this decade. Still, if you’ve got a family, maybe even parents to look after, and a busy work schedule, it’s easy to let your health slide. Obesity increases with age and reaches its peaks at around forties and is thought to be due to redistribution of fat around the abdominal area and predisposition to metabolic syndrome. The impact of obesity on the development of heart diseases is significant.
What to Do?
Get yearly checkups so you can track important parameters, such as blood pressure range, fasting blood glucose,  body mass index(BMI) and cholesterol. If your LDL has bad cholesterol, blood pressure, or other risk factors, take steps to improve them. For example, change your diet, exercise more, or take medication to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol if your doctor recommends it.
The guidelines on cardiovascular disease( CVD)  prevention recommends  that women should maintain or lose weight through appropriate physical activity, caloric intake, and formal behavior programs with a goal body mass index (BMI) of < 25 kg/m2 in women or waist size < 35 inches. Currently, the recommended exercise time for women for prevention of CVD is at least 150 minutes/week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes/week of vigorous exercise
Your Fifties: Kick Your Health Plan Into High Gear
The development of CAD seems to be greater in postmenopausal women. After menopause   the risk of heart disease rises. With the loss of estrogen, Endogenous estrogens which  maintain vasodilation and contribute to blood pressure (BP) control in premenopausal women, blood pressure,  LDL    cholesterol and triglyceride levels, tends to go up in    postmenopausal women  while HDL cholesterol tends to decline, setting the stage for artery-clogging atherosclerosis .
What to Do ?
Avoid hormone therapy. Even though the estrogen that’s naturally made in the ovaries protects against heart disease, estrogen in pill form can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. “Evidence suggests that hormone therapy after menopause doesn’t reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or chronic diseases, estrogen-progestin replacement has no cardio-protective effect and  may harm.
Assess your heart disease risk. Even if you feel fine, you can still have heart disease that’s not yet causing symptoms. You have to keep an eye on your cholesterol, blood pressure, and other details, if you have any one of them in an abnormal range. Your doctor will likely recommend you treatment, including medication and lifestyle measures.
Your sixties and Beyond: Keep Up the Good Work
The risk of heart attack is higher now. By age 60 and above, the good thing is that you still have the power to reduce your risk of heart disease.
What to Do?
Keep exercising your options. Your heart needs the benefits of physical activity and a heart-healthy diet now more than ever.
Keep close tabs on your risk factors. The parameters you started tracking in your forties- cholesterol, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, weight, and BMI — can mean even more now since the probability of heart attack is greater. The risk factors that can be controlled (modifiable) at this stage are: High BP; high blood cholesterol levels; smoking; diabetes, lack of physical activity; unhealthy diet and stress. Keep working with your doctor to develop a personal treatment or prevention plan to manage your risk factors. Follow up your doctor as often as recommended to make sure any medical interventions, such blood pressure medication or a statin, are any other advice by your doctor.
Don’t ignore your symptoms: If you have symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pain   (tightness, pressure, or discomfort in your chest when you’re exercising or stressed  ) or pain Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort, shortness of breath, pain in one or both arms, Nausea or vomiting, Sweating, Lightheadedness or dizziness, unusual fatigue or Indigestion. These symptoms may be vague and not as noticeable as the crushing chest pain often associated with heart attacks. This might be because women tend to have blockages not only in their main arteries but also in the smaller ones that supply blood to the heart — a condition called small vessel heart disease or coronary micro-vascular disease. Women tend to have symptoms more often when resting, or even when asleep, than they do in men. Emotional stress can play a role in triggering heart attack symptoms in women because women don't always recognize their symptoms as those of a heart attack; they tend to show up in emergency rooms after heart damage has occurred.
If you have symptoms of a heart attack or think you're having one. Look for immediate medical attention. Seeking prompt medical treatment can help head off a heart attack and can prevent you from a lethal outcome.