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Q: How does heart disease affect women?

Posted February 06, 2013 in Adel, Advice Column

A: February is National Heart Month. Heart disease continues to be the No, 1 killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year. This includes killing more women than all cancers combined. It also kills more women than men. With modern technology and knowledge in today’s world, 80 percent of heart attacks and strokes can be prevented or treated if more women become aware of their risk factors and take action against them.

Cholesterol has a direct effect on heart disease. Too much of one type, or not enough of another puts one at risk. Cholesterol is a soft substance found in the blood and in all the body’s cells. When it builds in the inner walls of your arteries over time, it hardens and turns into plaque. That plaque can narrow the artery walls and reduce blood flow. This in turn can cause blocks that can lead to blood clots, heart attacks or strokes. High cholesterol has no symptoms, and many people have it without knowing. Find out what your cholesterol levels are so you can lower them if you need to.

High blood pressure is often considered a silent killer because it can sneak up on you and often has no symptoms. Women have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure if they are 20 pounds or more overweight, have a family history of high blood pressure or have reached menopause. While there is no cure, high blood pressure can be manageable and preventable by adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a diet low in salt, saturated fats, cholesterol and alcohol.

Information provided by Jane Clausen, Adel Health Mart, 113 N. Ninth St., 993-3644.

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