Heart Disease and Women: Know Your Numbers

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women (and men) in the United States. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, one in four women die from heart disease. Although these numbers are daunting, small changes such as losing weight and sleeping more can significantly reduce someone’s risk of heart disease. Living a heart-healthy lifestyle is something women age 55 and over should especially “take to heart,” as 70.4 is the average age when women are at the greatest risk for having a heart attack.

The following video from the University of Virginia Heart and Vascular Center Initiative breaks down heart disease by the numbers, stressing the importance of knowing what numbers are good and bad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4cRMGp3bPI

Facts and figures from the video:

  • Of the 157 million women in the United States, 40 million are currently living with heart disease.
  • A total cholesterol number less than 200 is considered healthy.
  • A (bad) cholesterol LDL number is less than 100.
  • A (good) cholesterol HDL number is equal to or greater than 50.
  • A healthy triglyceride level is less than 150.
  • A healthy blood pressure reading is less than 120/80.
  • Fasting glucose should be less than 100.
  • Body mass index (BMI) should be less than 25.
  • Losing five to 10 pounds can lower you triglycerides.
  • 30 minutes of exercise a day can help protect your heart.
  • Getting eight hours of sleep a night can lower your blood pressure.

The biggest takeaway from the video? The majority of heart disease is preventable by simply adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle.

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