risk factors

Women: Know Your risk factors for heart disease

 Risk: Smoking

  • Stop smoking, avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Ask your doctor if nicotine replacement or other medicines are right for you.
  • Join a smoking cessation program.

Risk: High blood pressure (hypertension)

<120/80 is the ideal blood pressure.

<130/80 if you have diabetes or kidney problems.

  • To lower your BP, lose weight, exercise regularly and avoid eating foods high in sodium (salt).

Risk: High cholesterol

To reach your goal cholesterol levels, follow a low-fat diet, exercise regularly and take medicines as prescribed.

Regarding recommended cholesterol levels, current American Heart Association guidelines reference one’s overall risk assessment. View the AHA cardiac risk factor calculator.

Risk: Diabetes

A diagnosis of pre-diabetes is made if Hemoglobin A1c (HgA1C) is between 5.7 and 6.4 percent. Diabetes is diagnosed if HgA1C is greater than 6.4 percent. Target for fasting glucose is <100 mg/dL.

  • To maintain blood glucose levels in an acceptable range, take medicines as directed, follow your special diet and get regular exercise.
  • Talk to a diabetes educator.
  • Keep a diary of your blood glucose levels. Report to your doctor values outside of the prescribed range.

Risk: Overweight

Goal is a 35-inch or less waist and <25 body mass index (BMI).

  • To lose weight follow a healthy diet and increase your activity level.

Risk: Lack of exercise

Exercise frequently. This can include taking brisk walks, using stairs or gardening.