The Heart Truth® celebrates a decade of progress
Experts emphasize the importance of increasing awareness about heart disease in women, and recommend action to protect their heart health.
Balintfy: For a decade, the Red Dress has inspired women to protect their heart health. The good news is that women are now living longer and healthier lives. Heart disease deaths continue to decline in American women. But Dr. Nakela Cook at the NIH says many women still don't take their risk for heart disease seriously or personally.
Cook: It's important that they understand their risk for heart disease and that they have a personal conversation with their doctors about their risk as well as ways that they can reduce their risk.
Balintfy: She adds that women of all ages need to pay attention to heart health throughout their lifespan.
Cook: We know that heart disease risk factors develop at younger ages in this country as well as the fact that risk for heart disease and atherosclerosis, the process of developing plaque in the arteries, actually can occur at younger ages.
Balintfy: Risk factors for heart disease include smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, being overweight or obese, or having low physical activity levels. Dr. Cook says changing lifestyle factors can reduce risk of heart disease for women.
Cook: For example, if they smoke then it’s important that they quit.
Balintfy: Dr. Cook also mentions different nutrition or diet can help reduce heart disease risk.
Cook: We know that diets low in cholesterol and fat are very important in order to maintain a healthy heart.
Balintfy: But she emphasizes women should look at their personal risk factor numbers and then have a conversation with their doctor and ask questions about the best way to reduce their risk.
Cook: So this would include asking them what’s my weight, what is my waist circumference, and what is my family history in terms of risk for heart disease and how does that impact me.
Balintfy: For more information on reducing heart disease risk, improving heart health, and resources from The Heart Truth®, visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov. And to hear more from Dr. Cook, listen to episode 169 of the NIH Research Radio podcast. For NIH Radio, this is Joe Balintfy — NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health®
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Joe Balintfy
Sound Bite: Dr. Nakela Cook
Topic: heart, heart health, heart attack, women, heart truth, heart disease, risk, risk factors, atherosclerosis