Many women live in fear of breast cancer. But they often don’t realize that heart disease poses a much greater threat. In fact, heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death among American women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The chance of developing heart disease increases with age — and it goes up after menopause.* But women of all ages should take their heart health seriously. It’s never too early to take steps to help protect your heart.
Take charge of your heart health
You can’t change some things that put your heart at risk, such as getting older and having a family history of heart disease. Certain conditions, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, may also raise your risk.
But there are plenty of other things you can do to help keep your heart strong and healthy:
- If you smoke, quit. Smoking has been closely linked to heart disease as well as a host of other diseases. Quitting is one of the best things you can do for your health. Talk with your doctor about products and support that may help you succeed.
- Get your blood pressure checked. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder than normal. It can also damage blood vessels. Have yours checked regularly — and if your numbers are high, talk with your doctor about how to get them down.
- Control your cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that can clog arteries and raise the risk of a heart attack. Ask your doctor how often to be tested.