Posted on: 15.11.2021 Posted by: Drlark Comments: 0

Heart Health

More women die every year from heart disease
than all forms of cancer combined, and yet we are not as vigilant
about protecting our hearts as we are about protecting our breasts.
What are we are waiting for?

Protecting yourself against heart disease is as
simple as making changes in your diet, taking certain nutrents,
and incorporating stress reduction techniques and exercise into
your day.

The most common cause of heart attacks in women
is coronary artery disease, a narrowing of one or more of the arteries
that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. This narrowing is due
to the formation of plaque in the arteries. Plaque is a thick,
waxy, yellowish substance consisting primarily of cholesterol, smooth
muscle cells, and foam cells. Just as the gunk clogging your drain
won’t let water flow down, the plaque clogging your arteries won’t
let blood flow, starving the heart and eventually leading to a heart

The smoking gun
Are you holding a cigarette? Smoking narrows the diameter
of your blood vessels and impairs your circulation,
which increases your risk for heart disease. As a woman
who smokes you will also enter menopause two to three
years earlier than your friend who doesn’t smoke.

There are three key areas you can control that
contribute to coronary artery disease:

1. Cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a yellowish, waxy substance your liver produces to
help make hormones and vitamin D. (You also get cholesterol through
the foods you eat, primarily dairy, meat and fish.) Because it is
waxy, and your blood is water-based, your body attaches it to different
compounds to transport it through the bloodstream. The two main
compounds are low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the “bad”
cholesterol), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL, the “good”
cholesterol). HDL helps take excess cholesterol back to the liver,
where your body gets rid of it through bile. Cholesterol that is
attached to LDL, however, can build up and damage the inner lining
of blood vessel walls, causing plaque to form, much like the plaque
on your teeth. This plaque then narrows the blood vessel walls,
restricting the flow of oxygen- and nutrient-carrying blood.

The key is trying to keep your HDL levels high
and your LDL levels low.

2. Platelets.
These small round bodies produced in bone marrow and stored in the
spleen make up much of your blood. If your platelets are excessively
sticky, it becomes easier for blood clots to form. Then these platelets
can stick to arteries where plaque has formed, eventually blocking
the vessel wall and leading to a heart attack.

3. Triglycerides.
Triglcerides are the form in which you r body stores fat. If you
have elevated triglycerides (a level of 190 mg/dL or greater) you
run a greater risk of coronary artery disease.

Lipoprotein analysis
Call your doctor and ask her to do a blood test for
HDL, LDL, and total cholesterol. Here is how to interpret
the results:
Total cholesterol levels should be less than
180 mg/dL.
LDL levels should be less than 130 mg/dL.
HDL levels should be about 55 mg/dL; HDL levels
less than 35 mg/dL are a risk factor for women.
Also: The ratio of LDL to HDL is important and
should be no higher than 4:1. If your HDL is 30 and
your LDL is 150 then your ratio is 5:1, which puts you
in the high-risk category.

REMEMBER: You want your
HDL level to be high and your LDL level to be low because
they perform different tasks in the body. HDL is responsible
for getting cholesterol to the liver where it can be
broken down and excreted. High LDL levels mean more
“bad cholesterol” in the blood than can be
efficiently transported out.

For more on heart health, read on:

The Heart
Healthy Diet
Heart Healthy Nutrients

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