11 tips to follow for a healthy heart

11 tips to follow for a healthy heart

No, cardiovascular diseases are not the preserve of men! On the contrary, they are today, well before cancer, the leading cause of death among women … with the complicity of women themselves.

Do you know …  Your mother had a heart attack before 65? Your father did one before 55? Warning! Family history increases the risk of heart attack by 2.7.

Eat fruits and vegetables3 times a day is enough to reduce your risk of cardiovascular death by 27%!

Drink … little! Despite the opposition of oncologists, radically anti-alcohol, cardiologists confirm: there is more infarction among abstainers than among moderate consumers. But do not go over a drink a day (two for men).

Move … but not too much! A sedentary lifestyle is bad for the heart … but too much sporting practice is also safe. The proof? There are infarcts with the effort.

Stop smoking! Nicotine increases blood pressure, decreases the size of the arteries and promotes clot formation, and carbon monoxide, present in cigarette smoke, promotes atherosclerosis. Better to give up smoking, especially if you take the pill: a woman on hormonal contraception who smokes 20 cigarettes a day or more multiplies her risk of cardiovascular disease by 20!

Slow down! Since the INTERHEART study (2004), on more than 30,000 people in 52 countries, has confirmed the ravages of stress on the heart, specialists recommend you to decompress.

Lighten up. To evaluate the cardiovascular risk related to the extra pounds, the surest index is the waist circumference: for women, it should not exceed 88 cm (maximum allowed for men: 102 cm)!

Measure your tension. In Belgium, 25% of adults are hypertensive … and more than half do not suspect it!

Watch your cholesterol. A simple blood test is enough to establish your lipid balance and calculate your LDL-cholesterol, a causative factor of atherosclerosis.

Be wary of diabetes. Cardiovascular diseases are 2 to 4 times more common in diabetics, with a high level of glucose in the blood promoting blood clotting. If you have doubts, get tested! (Info: Belgian Diabetes Association, www.diabete-abd.be.)

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Forget the HRT … at least for the sake of your heart: it has now been proven that hormone replacement therapy has no protective effect against cardiovascular disease. On the contrary, it can increase the risk of venous thrombosis, phlebitis, pulmonary embolism, etc. To discuss with your gynecologist in case of menopause (too) painful. (To find out more: Belgian Cardiological League, liguecardioliga.be )

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