I’m a cardiologist and these are the six things women should never do to keep their heart healthy
Dr. Lucy McGrath-Cadell, from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney, said three in 10 women in Australia die from cardiovascular disease
A leading cardiologist has revealed the six biggest threats to Australian women’s heart health, with vaping or smoking, poor sleep and excessive drinking among the most dangerous habits.
Dr. Lucy McGrath-Cadell, from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney, said three in 10 Australian women die from cardiovascular disease.
She said there are several basic lifestyle choices that women “can’t ignore” to lower their risk of heart problems.
Don’t ever think it can’t happen to you
Dr. McGrath-Cadell warned that while some people may think they are wrong because they live a healthy lifestyle, heart disease can be caused by genetics.
‘You run, eat well, don’t smoke and maintain a healthy weight, so you clearly have little to worry about when it comes to heart disease. Unfortunately, that’s not entirely true,” she said.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a disease caused by mutated genes and leads to ‘thickening’ of the heart muscle.
It is also one of the leading causes of sudden cardiac death in young people.
Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) mainly occurs in women in their late 40s to early 50s, the majority of whom are largely healthy.
The disease is responsible for about 25 percent of heart attacks in women under 50 and is the most common cause of heart attacks in pregnant women.
Dr. McGrath-Cadell urged women to be aware of their family history and have regular heart health checks, as well as their cholesterol and blood pressure assessed.
Dr. McGrath-Cadell warned that Australians who don’t get enough sleep are at risk of heart disease (stock image)
Never ignore sleep
Dr. McGrath-Cadell explained that those who get less than seven hours of sleep, or more than nine hours, are at greater risk for obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
“Most people are aware of the role that healthy diet and exercise play in heart health, but one of the lesser-known risk factors for heart disease is poor sleep,” the cardiologist said.
‘Nearly 60 per cent of adult Australians suffer from at least one chronic sleep symptom, so now is the time to work on your sleep hygiene.’
Never ignore the importance of diet and exercise
The cardiologist said people should ideally try to be active every day, while minimizing long periods of sitting or lying down.
Eating fresh foods, minimizing processed foods and consuming unsaturated fats is another tip to help reduce the risk of heart disease.
While having a glass of wine a few times a week isn’t a cause for concern, research has shown that abstinence does wonders for a person’s heart
Never drink excessive amounts of alcohol
While having a glass of wine a few times a week isn’t a cause for concern, research has shown that abstinence does wonders for a person’s heart.
Dr. McGrath-Cadell said that for people with heart problems, such as arrhythmias, “consumption of alcohol at any amount is likely to be harmful.”
Never ignore the symptoms of heart disease
Dr. McGrath-Cadell said understanding the symptoms of possible heart problems was also important.
“Early detection is crucial in preventing other health consequences of heart disease,” she said.
‘This is especially true for women, whose symptoms are overlooked or misunderstood.’
She said the symptoms of heart attacks in women can differ from those in men.
Only one in three women will have “typical” symptoms of a heart attack, Dr. McGrath-Cadell said, such as chest pain.
Instead, women may experience warning signs such as pain in the neck, jaw, shoulders or upper back, shortness of breath, pain in one or both arms, nausea, dizziness and breaking out in a cold sweat.
Dr. McGrath-Cadell also warned against smoking and vaping for a healthier heart (stock image)
Never vape or smoke
In what Dr. McGrath-Cadell said, should be obvious to many: smoking or vaping is strongly associated with heart disease.
Smoking affects the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart, reducing the amount of oxygen in the blood.
Those who smoke are at greater risk of heart problems, and at a much younger age.
“Quitting smoking or vaping is one of the best things you can do for your heart health,” said Dr. McGrath-Cadell.