Women’s bodies change with age, and so does a woman’s cardio-vascular (heart and blood vessel) system. Poor cardiovascular health can cause heart attack or stroke.
According to the LVHN “Cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of women. The good news is that cardiovascular disease is preventable.”
Here are the ages and stages of a woman’s cardiovascular life:
When you are a child preventing cardiovascular disease is all about controlling risk factors. That starts during youth. Overweight children are more likely to develop high blood pressure and diabetes as an adult, which raises the risk for this disease. Be proactive by starting to exercise with the children. Also, have them cook with you and teach them what a healthy plate looks like. Cardiovascular disease risk factors include: diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, overweight, physical inactivity.
When you are pregnant a woman who develops high blood pressure and diabetes during pregnancy is more likely to develop them later in life too. So is her baby. That means the health decision you make before and during pregnancy can affect your child’s health years later. Pregnancy also makes the heart work harder, which could be dangerous for women with a heart defect.
When you are middle age – the occurrence of cardiovascular disease has decreased in all age groups except people age 35-54. Why? During this stage in life, the damage done by ignoring risk factors catches up to you. Stress also factors in. Middle-age women who juggle the responsibilities of a family and a career often put their health last.
When you are premenopausal – prior to menopause, women are less likely than men to develop cardiovascular disease. By age 65, their risk is equal. That’s because menopause results in a decline of estrogen, a hormone that makes arteries stronger and more flexible. During menopause, women also begin to see an increase in blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol (LDL< and a decline in “good” cholesterol (HDL)
Don’t stop reading now, take charge now, and continue to find out more information on the Lehigh Valley Health Network website. http://www.lvhn.org/wellness_resources/wellness_articles/condition_prevention_and_management:_heart_and_vascular