Preventing Heart Disease in Women
Follow these five key steps to help lower your risk for heart disease and heart attacks. (Please note that levels indicated are for adult women.)
- Be physically active
- Don’t smoke
- Eat healthy
- Keep a normal weight
- Know your numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides)
|Making Sense of the Numbers Game
Use this chart as a guide to decoding your test results
|Total cholesterol||less than 200 mg/dL|
|Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL or “bad” cholesterol)||less than 100 mg/dL|
|High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL or “good” cholesterol)||50 mg/dL or higher|
|Triglycerides||Less than 150 mg/dL|
|Blood pressure||Less than 120/80 mmHg|
|mg/dL: milligrams per deciliter of blood
mmHg: millimeters of mercury
Visit the American Heart Association to learn more about cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglyceride test results and blood pressure test results.
How heart healthy are you?
- Do you know your blood pressure? High blood pressure can lead to heart disease. It's best to have it checked every one or two years since you may not show any signs for high blood pressure.
- Do you know your cholesterol and triglyceride levels? High blood cholesterol can clog your arteries and cause a heart attack. High levels of triglycerides, a form of fat in your blood stream, are linked to heart disease in some people. If your levels are high, talk with your doctor. A better diet and more exercise may lower them, reducing your risk for heart disease.
- Are you at a healthy weight? Your risk for heart disease increases when you’re overweight. Find out your body mass index (BMI) to be sure your weight is healthy. Eating right and exercising regularly are key to maintaining or achieving a weight that’s good for your heart.
- Do you smoke? If so, there’s no better time than now to quit. You have many options to help you quit smoking including patches and gum, support groups and programs. Be sure to discuss your options with your doctor.
- Do you have diabetes? Having diabetes raises your chances of getting heart disease.
- Do you drink alcohol? If so, keep it to one drink a day.
- Are you coping well with stress? Lower your stress level by chatting with friends, going for a walk or writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal.