Heart Disease Risk Assessment
Here’s the scary truth: heart disease is the number one killer in women. Causing one in three women’s deaths a year, heart disease takes more lives than all forms of cancer. Combined. Furthermore, according to the American Heart Association, 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease. However, women can protect themselves with awareness and prevention. By understanding the major risk factors, a patient is better equipped to lead a heart-healthy life. Take this heart disease risk assessment to see if you’re at risk and learn ways to prevent a heart attack.
Do you have high blood pressure?
Although your blood pressure can change throughout the day, a normal reading is less than 120/80 mm. High blood pressure — continued readings of 130/80 mm or over — can cause serious harm to your health and lead to heart attack, stroke, and other life-threatening conditions. Shockingly, nearly 80 million adults in the U.S. are afflicted with high blood pressure. If you’re reading this heart disease risk assessment and suspect a problem with high blood pressure, consult with your doctor immediately.
Do you have high cholesterol?
When it comes to cholesterol, there is the good and the bad. Bad cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, can become part of the plaque that clogs arteries and causes heart problems. Your body produces LDL cholesterol. However, genetics and food choices have a lot to do with your levels. Good cholesterol, or HDL, protects your heart by carrying the LDL cholesterol away from the arteries. You can increase your HDL levels through diet, exercise, weight loss, and not smoking. Your overall cholesterol level should be less than 200 mg/dL. You can read more about cholesterol and your health on our website.
Are you diabetic or have high blood sugar?
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease and occurs — at any age — when your blood sugar is too high. Evidence of your body’s inability to make or use insulin properly can be caused by a number of factors, including genes, lack of physical exercise, and obesity. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, it can be managed through healthy lifestyle choices.
Are you overweight or obese?
According to the American Heart Association, 69 percent of American adults are overweight or obese. Why does this matter? Carrying excess weight can lead to a number of health issues, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes — all of which can lead to heart disease. One of the best ways to prevent a heart attack is by maintaining a healthy weight with daily exercise. If you are more than 20 percent over your ideal weight, consult with your physician about adopting healthier eating, exercise, and lifestyle choices.
Do you smoke?
When it comes to smoking, the numbers are not good. The American Heart Association states that smoking increases the risk of heart disease and stroke by two to four times, and women who smoke are at a 25 percent higher risk of developing heart disease. Bottom line: if you smoke, stop. Your heart will thank you. In fact, your risk of heart disease will be cut in half just one year after you quit.
If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you should talk to your physician about your risk of heart disease. And be sure to schedule an annual well-woman exam with your Women’s Care physician – because good health is good for the heart.