According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cardiovascular disease (CVD) kills one woman every minute in the United States. Additionally, one out of every three women will experience some form of CVD during their lifetime. Heart attacks, strokes, arrhythmia, and heart valve problems are all forms of cardiovascular disease and although the rate of CVD in America is staggeringly high, the AHA reports that most cases are preventable by early detection and leading a more heart-healthy lifestyle.
Early detection of cardiovascular disease can be the difference between life and death. By being cognizant of the early signs of CVD, you’ll have a better chance of catching threats early on. One of the best ways to begin understanding your risk of getting CVD is to research your family history. Have your siblings shown signs of CVD? Do your parents and grandparents have a history of heart attack or stroke? The answers to questions like these will help your doctor understand your genes and develop a fine-tuned plan for prevention tailored to your needs. Early signs of cardiovascular disease include:
- High Blood Glucose Level
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- High Body Weight/Body Mass Index
You may be asking yourself, “When should I start getting tested?” Answer: it’s never too early. Here’s a breakdown of when to start testing and how often to get tested, according to the AHA.
Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Keep it simple: The easiest and most effective way to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease is by making changes to your lifestyle habits. Simple modifications like eating more fruits, veggies, whole grains, and fish as well as getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day can significantly lower your chances of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.
Start small: The key to being successful with the changes you make is to start with small adjustments. Drastically altering your behavior can cause you to give up prematurely and revert to old, unhealthy habits. A great way to begin is to start incorporating healthy foods into your diet more often and taking a walk each day. The AHA recommends a modest approach to improving your heart health, using a simple seven model: Get active. Control cholesterol. Eat better. Manage blood pressure. Lose weight. Reduce blood sugar. Stop smoking.