Heart health for women

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), coronary heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States with one in four women dying from heart disease. Taking the necessary measures to adopt a heart healthy lifestyle and seeking proper treatment measures for existing conditions can greatly decrease the likelihood of early death from this disease.

When a doctor determines that your high blood pressure or high cholesterol is not in control, he or she will then advise you that you need medication to control your heart health and get you back into healthy shape. One of the biggest concerns that doctors have is patients do not “stick with” the treatments they prescribe—medications, diet and exercise changes, smoking cessation, etc.

Doctors are your partners, working with you to make sure that you achieve the best health possible. Taking an active role in your own health is one of the most important things you can do as a patient.

In the case of heart health, your doctor may have prescribed a medication for hypertension. Hypertension, also called high blood pressure, is not only one of the main contributors to heart disease but is also one of the earliest signs. That medication is critical, as well as medicines to lower your blood cholesterol levels which also affect heart health.

There are serious consequences that can be avoided if you find a way to stick to your medications, and most doctors do understand how frustrating it can be to take a medication or a treatment you don’t understand. Ask questions, ask for explanations. Your doctor wants you to understand so that you feel better and are able to keep your health on track.

For more information on coronary heart disease and its affect on women, please visit the NIH website at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/.

(1) National Institutes of Health (NIH) Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

Dr. Beane is vice president and medical director at Healthfirst. For more tips on leading a healthier lifestyle, visit the Healthfirst Healthy Living website at www.hfhealthyliving.com.