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4 Ways Women Can Improve Their Heart Health

Tell a woman she is more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than of breast cancer and she may not believe you. However, heart disease and disease of the blood vessels together claim twice as many women’s lives as all forms of cancer. Follow these health-boosting gender-based tips to protect yourself.

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1. Remember That You Come First

One hospital study found that women rate poor self-esteem as the primary reason for not making changes to improve their cardiovascular health. Remember: if you’re not around, it won’t matter what you used to do for others.

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2. Make Time for Relaxation

Meditate or simply go into a dark, quiet room for 20 minutes when you get home from work. Stress harms the heart directly and also indirectly – by preventing you from making lifestyle changes that could help your heart. And in a woman’s life, the stress of work is often simply compounded by the stress of home. Give yourself a time-out period between your two worlds – it will do you a whole world of heart-healthy good.

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3. Get Your Family Heart Healthy

As well as eating healthy and not drinking too much or smoking, encourage your children and grandchildren to be aware of the importance of looking after their hearts. That way you can prevent heart disease in future generations. Encourage them to be active along with you. Involve them in food preparation so they learn about “good” and “bad” foods.

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4. Listen to Your Body

Don’t assume that if you’re not having crushing chest pain, you’re not having a heart attack. Symptoms of a heart attack in women can include extreme weakness or a feeling similar to indigestion. So pay attention to your body. Surveys of women who have had heart attacks find that they may exhibit some unique symptoms in the month before the attack, such as feeling unusually fatigued, having problems sleeping, having indigestion and weakness in their arms.