Coronary Heart Disease in Women
Coronary heart disease, not cancer, is by far the leading cause of death among women in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although so many women are at risk, especially women after menopause, few recognize the risk factors and take steps to reduce them. If left untreated, coronary heart disease leads to heart attack and heart failure. Women can do many things to reduce their risk of developing coronary heart disease:
- Stop smoking
- Maintain a weight as close to their ideal body weight as possible
- Exercise (the American Heart Association recommends 20 minutes of exercise three times a week with warm up and cool down periods)
- Seek screening and treatment for high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol
Upon reaching menopause, a woman's risk for heart disease equals, if not surpasses, a man's risk. Cholesterol levels that were kept in check by estrogen production may surge upward. Hormone replacement therapy may reduce the sudden increased risk, but may, at the same time, promote an increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer.