Recent studies found that one of the most significant controllable risk factors for heart disease is exercise. Specifically, the study concluded that increasing physical activity over 6 years could significantly decrease the risk of heart failure. In some cases, the overall reduced risk was 31%. And the alternative is also true: 6 years of inactivity leads to an increased risk of heart failure. Aim for at least 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise.
2. You have a risk of heart attack, too
Women often associate heart attacks with happening exclusively to older men. This is simply not true. Every year, in the US alone, around 88,000 women between the ages of 40-60 suffer from a heart attack. Exercise regularly, eat a nutritious diet and lower stress as much as possible to minimize the risk of heart attacks.
3. Regular screenings are crucial
Many people only go to the doctor when feeling sick. But seeing a primary care doctor each year is an essential factor in a woman’s ongoing health. At these annual exams, the doctor can check blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar, all numbers that impact heart health. If any of these numbers are in an unhealthy range, the healthcare provider can provide guidance and recommendations for improving lifestyle habits and getting healthier.
What else do I need to watch?
A woman’s 40s are often consumed with career and childrearing. But adults in this age range have a higher risk of preventable chronic health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes. Diabetes, high body mass index, and smoking are all considered risk factors for heart disease. Lowering these risk factors now can promote wellness and longevity into the 60s, 70s, and 80s. For more questions about improving heart health after the age of 40, speak with a healthcare provider.