A womanâ??s risk of heart disease increases with age until, by the age of 65, her risk almost equals that of a man. Furthermore, heart attacks in women are also twice as likely to be fatal than in men.

Heart disease is predominantly a lifestyle illness. A change of lifestyle can contribute significantly to prevent heart disease in women.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent heart disease in women. Read on…

1.  Determine your genetic link to heart disease 

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There is a higher risk of heart disease in people who have family members previously diagnosed with the condition. Family members who develop heart disease in their mid-fifties raise the risk for heart disease in their children and siblings. Consult your health practitioner if you are aware of a family history of heart disease.

2.  Maintain a healthy weight throughout your life

For women in the middle years of life, weight gain is a common occurrence. However, excess kilogrammes increase the likelihood of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Women are typically considered overweight if their waistlines exceed 87 cms. Even reducing your weight by 10 percent can offer significant health benefits.

3.  Say no to tobacco use 

There are few factors more likely to increase your odds of developing heart disease than the smoking habit. Tobacco use increases blood pressure and makes blood more prone to clotting. This can result in a heart attack or stroke. The combination of smoking and taking birth control pills is even more dangerous. When you stop smoking, you decrease your risk of developing heart disease by 50 percent within the first year.

4.  Drink a small glass of red wine every day, and avoid other alcoholic beverages

While too much alcohol can increase blood pressure and triglycerides, one small glass of red wine each day is thought to contain enough antioxidants to serve as an effective heart disease preventative. You can also get antioxidants from fresh fruits like raspberries and blueberries.

5.  Commit to physical activity at least five days of the week

According to the American Heart Association, women can help prevent heart disease by committing to half-an-hour of exercise, 5 or 6 days a week. Try a brisk walk, bike ride, swim or dance class. Start with a small goal and commit to it daily. Then slowly increase the time and intensity level, as your body adjusts to the activity.

6.  Add more omega-3 fatty acids to your daily food intake

Omega-3 fats have been shown to lower cholesterol levels in some patients, which can have a positive impact on heart disease risk as well. Common sources of omega-3 fats are fish like tuna and salmon, walnuts and flax seeds. Supplements can be taken if fresh omega-3 foods are not available.

7.  See your health practitioner for a heart check-up every year. 

Many chronic conditions, like diabetes and high blood pressure increase your heart disease risk. By getting annual heart health check-ups, you can treat potential problems in the early stages, before a bigger health problem arises. In some cases, lifestyle changes like a reduced transfat, sugar and salt diet, and daily exercise, are enough to treat these conditions. However, some patients require medication to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure or cholesterol as well.

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