Heart health and women

The prevailing view has been that heart disease and heart health in general is something that only affects men. Statistically, more men than women die of coronary heart disease although women are quickly catching up!

Why are women protected? The main reason is that the hormone oestrogen protects women against heart disease but this benefit is lost after menopause. This means that the risks are the same for both sexes.

However, heart disease is becoming a greater issue for women: the reasons for this include stressful lifestyles, smoking and drinking, and obesity. It seems to be the case that many women who adopted the same lifestyles as men are now facing the consequences of that lifestyle.

So, women as well as men need to be concerned with their heart health. If you are a young woman then the lifestyle you follow now will impact upon your risk of heart disease later on.

If you want to reduce your risk then have a healthy diet, take exercise, stop smoking and limit your alcohol consumption.

Note: there is an ongoing debate about the risk of heart disease in women who take HRT (hormone replacement therapy). There are many benefits to HRT but these have to be balanced against the side effects.

If you are currently on HRT or are considering it then talk to your GP about this. You will be advised to weigh up the pros and cons of this treatment before making a decision.

Heart Health Guide Index:

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