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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Take Charge of Your Heart: What Women Need to Know

Being a woman means you can take pleasure in a beautiful pair of heels or finding the perfect handbag to match your favorite dress. However, it also means you have some unique health concerns—particularly where your heart is concerned.


“Taking action against heart disease early on can make a big difference,” says Robert C. Candipan, M.D., PhD, FACC, FSCAI, cardiologist at Phoenix Heart Center. “Many of these conditions are treatable. Learn what treatment and diagnostic tests can detect various kinds of heart disease.”


The leading cause of death in women is heart disease—and you’re the only one who can reduce your risk of being part of that alarming statistic. Here are nine steps to follow for improving your heart health:


1) Know your numbers.

Don’t know the difference between LDL and HDL? What your triglyceride levels or body mass index (BMI) are? Talk with your physician about what your numbers mean and how high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity all increase your heart disease risk.


2) Update your understanding.

The best way to improve heart health is to understand the disease—including how to lower your risks.


3) Learn CPR.

A potentially lifesaving technique, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR ) can “buy time” until the heart attack victim receives medical attention.


4) Create a record.

Compile a detailed family or personal health history for your own records. This can improve care in an emergency situation.


5) Reduce stress.

Whether it’s at work, at home or in personal situations, cutting out stressors can reduce your heart disease risk. Incorporate stress-relieving activities such as exercise, meditation and relaxation into your daily life to calm your tensions.


6) Invite a challenge.

Incorporate two or more vegetables a day into your diet—diets rich in vitamins and minerals can reduce your chance of heart disease. For an extra challenge, try new dishes with fruits and vegetables you haven’t tried in the past.


7) Manage your health.

If you have diabetes or are overweight, proper management of these conditions can improve your overall heart health.


8) Open your eyes.

Learn how to look for reliable medical information and outside support to maintain health.


9) Take care of yourself.

Pampering yourself is important, whether that means a monthly facial or an afternoon coffee date with your best friend. Why not consider incorporating some healthy pampering—think weekly yoga or Pilates—into your routine?


Quick Tips to Keep Your Ticker in Tip-Top Shape


Only have a few minutes to make your heart healthier today? Follow these quick and easy tips for boosting heart health:

• Find a walking path or route in your neighborhood and commit to walking at least 10 minutes every day.

• Stay optimistic! Recent studies have shown women older than age 50 who are optimistic are less likely to develop heart disease.

• Try a new, healthy twist on a favorite family recipe, such as baked—not fried—chicken and a flavorful vegetable side dish.


To learn more about your risk for heart disease, take a quick, online heart risk assessment at phoenixheartcenter.com.

Robert C. Candipan, M.D., PhD, is a board-certified cardiologist on the medical staff at St. Luke’s Medical Center. Dr. Candipan practices at Phoenix Heart Center in Phoenix, Ariz. For more information or for a referral to a cardiologist on the medical staff at St. Luke’s Medical Center, call 1-877-351-WELL (9355).

This information is provided by St. Luke’s Medical Center as general information only and is not intended to replace the advice of a physician.




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