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How To Prevent Heart Disease For Women After Menopause?
Part II

Following from my previous article, here are the 7 tips that can help women prevent heart disease after menopause:

Tip 1 – Stop Smoking
Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of CHD in women. More than half of heart attacks in middle-aged women can be attributed to smoking. For smokers who are determined to quit, they can be referred to smoking cessation clinics by their doctor.

Tip 2 – Reduce High Cholesterol
Dietary change and exercise are good ways to reduce blood cholesterol. Regular exercise helps to raise the level of good cholesterol and improve the overall cholesterol profile. However, if the cholesterol level does not respond positively to such lifestyle changes, one should seek help from the doctor for prescribing cholesterol-lowering medication.

Tip 3 – Control High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can be controlled by adopting a low-salt diet, engaging in regular exercise, weight reduction and appropriate medications.

Tip 4 – Manage Diabetes Mellitus
A high level of sugar in the blood accelerates the thickening and narrowing of blood vessels in the heart. Diabetes can be managed through weight reduction, exercise and medication.

Tip 5 – Engage in Regular Exercise
Lack of exercise makes the heart and body unfit, increasing the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and high levels of cholesterol. Exercises such as brisk walking, jogging, bicycling or swimming are good for the heart. When engaging in an exercise program, a cautious start with a gradual increase in intensity is important. A regular schedule should be set and adhered to. Start with short bouts of exercise such as 15 – 20 minutes on alternative days and gradually increase the intensity of exercise until you reach the goal of 30 minutes daily. Most importantly, obtain a general cardiovascular assessment from a doctor before commencing any exercise regime.

Tip 6 – Maintain a Healthy Weight
The heart of overweight person needs to pump harder and consumes more oxygen. Overweight also increases the risk of hypertension and diabetes. Obesity can be measured using the waist-hip ratio (waist circumference divided by hip circumference) or body mass index (BMI – body weight in kilograms divided by square of height in meters). For women, a waist-hip ratio of greater than 0.9 is considered as high risk for heart disease. Likewise, a person with BMI greater than 25 is considered overweight. For one whose BMI is above 30 is considered obese. Regular exercise and a reduced calories diet can help to achieve or maintain one’s ideal weight.

Tip 7 – Manage Stress
When a person is under mental stress, the heart pumps faster and the blood vessels constricted. To guard against under stress on the heart, one should try to arrange a sensible work schedule with adequate periods of rest and relaxation in between. Stress management techniques such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and regular exercise can also help reduce stress.



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