Heart health

With Valentine’s Day approaching we’re talking about heart health today.

Did you know that…?

  • Heart disease is the number one killer of women.
  • We show less obvious & often different symptoms to men when it comes to heart disease, which means it’s less likely to be noticed / investigated / treated. (For example, a women experiencing a heart attack is much less likely than a man to clutch her chest. Instead she may experience mid back or arm pain, a feeling of anxiety and breathlessness).
  • High blood pressure in pregnancy increases your future risk of hypertension, stroke, cardiovascular disease and premature death.
  • The risk of heart disease increases significantly as you move through perimenopause (i.e. when your body starts to transition towards menopause) and your oestrogen levels start to decline. For most women this is typically in their 40s, but it can be earlier or later.
  • Whilst some risk factors are out of your control (for example, family history), many of them (see below) can be managed and it’s important to do so because:
    • just one risk factor doubles your risk of developing heart disease;
    • two risk factors quadruple your risk; and
    • three or more increase your risk tenfold.

The risk factors you can do something about include:

  • being overweight / obesity
  • having diabetes
  • not staying physically active
  • having high blood pressure
  • having high cholesterol
  • smoking. 

So beyond having a healthy pregnancy and aiding your postnatal recovery and pelvic health, there are many more reasons to get into great movement and eating habits now. Those habits may be the difference between watching your children grow up and not.

(For more information check out the British Heart Foundation and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute websites.)

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