A Healthy Heart: Preventing Cardiovascular Disease in Women
February 25, 2021
Year after year cardiovascular disease ranks itself as the nation’s lead killer for both men and women of all racial and ethnic groups. It accounts for the death of more Canadians than any other disease. In 2019, cardiovascular disease accounted for over 70,000 Canadian deaths.
Some Interesting Facts:
• Eight times as many women die from heart disease and stroke than from breast cancer. 40% of all Canadian women’s deaths are due to heart disease and stroke.
• A woman’s risk of death from heart disease increases 4 times after menopause. The rate of stroke also increases dramatically after menopause.
• Women with diabetes at any age are at more risk of developing heart disease and stroke than men who have diabetes. Compared to women without diabetes these women have triple the risk of heart attack and a much greater risk of a stroke.
• Compared to active women, inactive women are twice as likely to die from heart disease and stroke.
There are many factors that increase a woman’s risk for cardiovascular disease. Some risks are based on family history but others are more controllable and preventable. Two in three women have one or more of the major risk factors listed below:
01. High Blood Pressure
03. High cholesterol levels (specifically, high LDL “bad” cholesterol and low HDL “good” cholesterol)
04. Lack of physical activity or exercise
06. Higher-than-normal markers of inflammation such as hsCRP (highly sensitive C reactive protein)
How to Support Your Heart
Along with minimizing risk factors by eating a healthy balanced diet, exercising regularly, reducing time sitting, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress and being careful with your blood pressure levels, you can also take it a step further to support a healthy heart.
01. REDUCE INFLAMMATION-
Inflammation is a major factor in the development of heart disease. Reduce inflammatory foods such as sugar, red meat, processed food, dairy, gluten, caffeine, and alcohol. It’s also a good idea to increase your intake of anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric, oregano, cinnamon, rosemary, and ginger.
02. EAT HEART HEALTHY FOODS-
Dark, leafy greens, berries, healthy fats, nuts and seeds, fish, and legumes and dark chocolate are rich in flavonoids and antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation and decrease the risk of developing heart disease. It’s also a good idea to eat plenty of fiber, such as in beans, and fruit and veggies, which is shown to help reduce bad cholesterol.
03. HEART SUPPORTING SUPPLEMENTS-
There are a few powerful supplements that can go a long way in supporting your heart health. A high-quality fish oil can help ward off heart disease by reducing systemic inflammation. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and strengthens blood vessels. CoQ10 and Magnesium are popular heart supportive supplements that are not to be forgotten and in my opinion, are fundamentals for the prevention of heart disease.
This blog post was written by our guest writer, Dr. Marita Schuach. She’s a naturopathic doctor from Vancouver Island, focusing on preventative healthcare & health education.