For many years, heart disease was thought of as a man’s disease. Most heart disease awareness efforts and research dollars focused on recognizing heart problems in men. But today we know different. Heart disease kills more women annually than all cancers combined, and more women than men have died from it every year since 1984.
While awareness efforts among women are improving, it’s time for heart disease research in women to catch up. We need more people like Barbra Streisand—who recently discussed her personal efforts to raise money for Cedars Sinai Women’s Heart Center in pause® magazine—to invest in heart disease prevention and treatment for women.
More clinical study is key in the fight against heart disease, but it’s also important to remember that you are your own first line of defense. Family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, being overweight, and smoking increase your heart disease risk. To that end, the tried-and-true health trilogy of eating right, exercising, and avoiding smoking still applies. In addition, you can protect your heart health by lowering salt intake, controlling diabetes, keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels low, managing stress in a healthy way, and visiting your doctor regularly.
Your heart supports you and everything you do every minute of every day. Repay the favor by committing to treating it right.