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Women's Heart Health Through the Ages

three women sitting next to each other, smiling

What’s the best way to ensure you have a healthy heart 10 years from now?

Begin thinking about it when you’re 20! Most women don’t realize we begin setting the tone for our heart health well before we are even thinking about things like heart attacks or strokes.

Ways to Improve Your Hearth Health

Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your heart health at every stage of life:

Heart Health in Your 20s

This is the time when you should start adopting healthy habits that you'll maintain for years to come. You can start by having annual physical exams. These help establish baseline information about your body.

Other recommendations include:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Be mindful of how much sitting you do
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Get at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate-intensity exercise

Heart Health in Your 30s

The 30's are a busy time in a woman's life. Oftentimes the focus is on others - having children, taking care of a new family, a career or all of the above. It is an important time to take a step back, reevaluate and make sure that you are taking care of yourself, too.

Do you know your heart age? Take our free risk assessment!

The child-bearing years are the time to be aware of conditions in pregnancy that can affect long-term heart risk. Women who develop preeclampsia during pregnancy are four times more likely to develop high blood pressure later in life, and preeclampsia doubles the risk of heart attack and stroke 10 to 15 years later.

Women are also advised to avoid excess weight gain during pregnancy, as it also increases future risk of heart attack and stroke.

Heart Health in Your 40s

In this stage of life, women often struggle to keep up with the demands of their family, work, and personal life, leading many of them to burn the midnight oil or sacrifice sleep altogether.

Recent studies among women in their mid-40s showed that women who sleep less than six hours per night are twice as likely to develop a heart attack or stroke compared to those who get between six and eight hours a night. Instead of squeezing in tasks late at night, try getting in more shut eye and planning to tackle tasks early in the morning.

Heart Health in Your 50s

By their early 50s, most women are entering menopause, a time when our bodies go through many changes and symptoms of heart disease can begin to appear.

Many women consider hormone replacement therapy to help manage hot-flashes and other symptoms of menopause. However, you may also worry how hormone therapy might effect the heart. To make a decision, it's important to know your personal history and speak with a doctor.

See a cardiologist to have your heart risk factors, such as family history, diabetes and blood pressure, evaluated and monitored. This personal risk can help you make a more informed decision about hormone replacement therapy.

About this Blog

The Penn Heart and Vascular blog provides the latest information on heart disease prevention, nutrition and breakthroughs in cardiovascular care.

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