Posted on: 20.05.2021 Posted by: Drlark Comments: 0

June 12, 2004


Heart Health

Quiz: What Is Your Risk of Heart Disease?

The risk of heart disease

is a big issue for many of the women patients I’ve worked with over

the past 28 years. Women often are really startled to discover that

they’re at risk for heart disease after the age of 50. Estrogen

has protected us for so long, we tend to forget that when estrogen

diminishes, we have a risk that is almost identical to men.

The first taste of that frequently comes when our

cholesterol levels suddenly shoot up as we cross the menopause threshold.

We go from having a healthy cholesterol reading of 170 to a report

that shows our cholesterol at 230, or even 310. This shocking news

is a good sign that we need to pay attention to our heart health.

Women may even develop high blood pressure when they’ve never had

that problem before.

If you’re not sure about whether you need to be

concerned about heart disease, take a look at the risk factors quiz

below. If three or more apply, you should consult a doctor.

Check all that apply…

Have you entered menopause?

The risk of coronary artery disease increases three-fold when

estrogen levels drop.


Did you have natural or surgical menopause

before age 45?

Women who have undergone surgical menopause, with their ovaries

removed, before 45 have three times more risk of coronary

artery disease than women who cease menstruating later. Complete

hysterectomy before the age of 35 raises the risk to seven

times higher.


Do you have a strong family history of

heart disease?


Do you have elevated blood lipids?

Normal triglyceride levels range from 50-200 mg/dL. Higher

than that indicates greater risk. Levels of low-density lipoprotein

(LDL)—the body’s main protein-cholesterol package—should

be below 130 mg/dL for heart protection. Levels of the “good”

high-density lipoprotein—HDL—should be at 55 mg/dL

for lowered risk of heart disease. The ratio between your

LDL and HDL should be no higher than 4:1.


Do you have high blood pressure?

A healthy blood pressure is 120/70. When the reading is above

140/90, pressure is considered elevated. The first number

(systolic) indicates the pressure that occurs when the heart

contracts and pushes blood through the arteries. The second

number (diastolic) is the pressure in the arteries when the

heart relaxes between beats.


Are you 65 or older?

The longer you’ve been without estrogen, the greater your



Do you weigh 20 to 30 percent

more than your ideal weight?

If the fat on your body is distributed largely through your

midsection, making a shape like an apple, there’s a greater

risk of heart disease.


Do you have diabetes?

Women with diabetes have twice the risk of having a heart

attack than non-diabetic women. Diabetics are also at higher

risk for hypertension (high blood pressure) and high cholesterol



Do you smoke?

Smoking constricts your blood vessels, decreasing the flow

of blood and oxygen to your heart.


Are you a type A personality (quick to

anger, highly aggressive and reactive)?

Studies have shown a direct link between hostility and serum

cholesterol levels. Conversely, the more you can control your

emotional reaction to situations, the better your lipid profile.


Do you worry about everything?

Research suggests a link between anxiety, of which worry is

a component, stress, and risk of heart attack.


Are you physically inactive?

To keep blood and oxygen flowing to your heart, you need

to exercise on a regular basis, at least three times each

week for half an hour at a time. Try walking to start out

your program. Begin with just 20 minutes of moderate walking

and build up. Swing your arms vigorously and breathe deeply

as you walk along. You may feel strange, but you’ll do wonders

for your heart.

Read More on Heart Health:

Getting Started

Assessing Your Heart Health

Different Gender, Different Symptoms

Quiz: What Is Your Risk of Heart Disease?

Keep it SIMPLE Heart tip — Fiber, Fiber, Fiber

Nutritional Therapies

Heart Healthy Nutrients

Foods That Help Your Heart, Foods That Hurt It

Mineral Deficiencies Lead to Heart Problems

Complementary Therapies

Flapping Wings Exercise

Think With Your Heart



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