• Heart disease kills more women over 65 than any other cause of death. A complex condition, heart disease is brought on by a variety of factors, including smoking, inactivity, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, family history, high blood pressure and excessive alcohol use.

    Family history

    Family history is a strong risk factor for heart disease. If a woman has relatives who have suffered from heart disease, she should be extra vigilante.

    Inactivity and obesity

    An inactive lifestyle, particularly coupled with weight issues, can increase a woman's chance of developing heart disease. Excess weight without physical exertion puts pressure on the internal organs and leads to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes (all risk factors for heart disease).

    High cholesterol

    Cholesterol is a major factor in assessing risk for heart disease. High levels indicate that an excess of cholesterol has built-up in the arteries causing them to harden. If the blood stream cannot carry enough oxygen to the heart because the artery is too narrow, this could lead to a heart attack.

    High blood pressure

    If a woman has high blood pressure, her heart is working harder than normal. An overworked heart can lead to heart disease.

    Previous heart attack

    Women who have had a previous heart attack are much more likely to have a second one.

    Alcohol and tobacco

    The overuse of alcohol or tobacco is a risk factor for heart disease among women due to its potential damage to the body. Excessive alcohol and tobacco use can also lead to obesity and high blood pressure (other risk factors for heart disease).


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