The way you live affects your heart. An unhealthy lifestyle can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Making lifestyle changes now could save your life.
Take our simple quiz to find out if you are at risk. Check all the items below that apply to you.
Your father or brother under age 55 or your mother or sister under age 65 has had a heart attack, stroke, angioplasty or bypass surgery.
You are over 55 years old. (After age 65, the death rate increases sharply for women.)
Either you smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke every day.
High Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure is over 120/80 or you have been told that you have high blood pressure. (After age 45, 60% of Caucasian women and 79% of African-American women have high blood pressure.)
You do not exercise for 20-30 minutes at least 3 days every week. (70% of American women do not exercise regularly.)
You have been told that you have diabetes or take medicine to help control your blood sugar. After age 45, diabetes affects many more women than men.
Blood Cholesterol Levels
Your HDL (High Density Lipo-protein or "good" cholesterol) is less than 35mg/dL or your Total Cholesterol is over 240mg/dL.
You are 20 pounds or more overweight. (More than 1/3 of American women are more than 20 pounds overweight.) Ask your health care professional if your Body Mass Index (BMI) places you at risk.
Having at least three of a cluster of symptoms that are listed below places you at risk:
Waist > 35 inches
Waist measurement of 35 inches or more or waist-to-hip ratio greater than 0.80 is a predictor of high triglycerides and low HDL levels
Hormones & Menopause
You have had a hysterectomy and have had your ovaries removed or you have completed menopause.
Birth Control Pills
Taking birth control pills greatly increases risk of heart attack and stroke (when combined with regular exposure to cigarette smoke), especially after age 35.
You have a high demand/low control job with sustained high levels of stress. Stress is a normal part of life. How you cope with stress can affect your heart.
Excess Alcohol Intake
A woman should limit her alcohol intake to an occasional drink or to no more than 2 oz. of alcohol per day (2 oz. is equal to one glass of wine, one beer or one cocktail).
If you checked two or more risk factors above, consult with your health care practitioner and ask for a complete risk assessment. Find out what you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease.
TIP: Print out the completed form and take it with you to your doctor appointment.