Heart disease is the No.1 cause of death of women in Australia, with 24 women succumbing to this silent killer every day.
According to the Heart Foundation, heart disease is three times more likely to cause death in Australian women than breast cancer. However, less than 40% of women are aware that it’s the leading cause of death in women’s health. The risk of heart disease increases with age but younger women are also susceptible to this risk. In order to know your personal risk of developing heart disease, whether young or old, it is important to have a heart check-up with your local Melbourne GP. Besides having regular check-ups, there are other ways to promote women’s health and prevent heart disease. Over 90% of Australian women can modify at least one heart disease risk factor and 50% have two or three modifiable risk factors.
Heart disease can be prevented if you practice healthy lifestyle habits. We recommend a healthy diet, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and limiting alcohol intake.
According to WebMD, eating a heart-healthy diet would balance your cholesterol and blood sugar levels whilst also lowering your blood pressure and weight. High cholesterol, blood sugar levels, blood pressure and weight are all risk factors to heart disease and can worsen women’s health. A heart-healthy diet advises consumption of more plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, nuts, legumes and seeds. These foods contain fiber which is good for your cholesterol and aids in digestion.
Include fish or seafood into your diet as it provides a good source of protein and other nutrients. The Heart Association recommends at least 2-3 servings per week of fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They also recommend at least 2 servings per week of legumes (lentils and dried beans) as they are high in fibre and low in fat. Nuts, seeds, avocado, olives and their oils are a good source of healthy fats that help balance your blood cholesterol.
Reduce salt from your diet and add flavor to your dishes with herbs and spices. Most adults consume too much sodium which raises your blood pressure levels. Try to avoid consuming too much packaged foods as these tend to be high in sodium.
A combination of both a healthy diet and exercising at least 2-3 times per week will promote women’s health and reduce the risk of heart disease. Making healthy lifestyle choices such as quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake would also increase women’s health. Both smoking and drinking can raise blood pressure, increasing your risk of stroke and heart attack which leads to heart disease.
For more information: Make an appointment with one of our doctors at Southgate Medical Centre or call the Heart Foundation on 1300 36 27 87