Think you can skip this article because heart disease is a man’s condition? Think again. Heart disease is the biggest threat to your health. One in three women will die of heart disease, making it the number one killer of women. Still think this is a guy thing? “Since 1984, more women have died of cardiovascular disease than men,” says Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a spokesperson for the American Heart Association (AHA). And alarmingly, the disease begins in women younger than 20, years before they have symptoms. So no matter what your age, you need to protect yourself now. To learn what you can do, read on.
Decode The Disease
From the time we’re young, fatty deposits called plaque start to build up in our arteries. As we age and expose our bodies to toxins like saturated fat, the arteries get lined with more and more plaque, which eventually thickens and hardens. This plaque buildup is known as atherosclerosis — a precursor to heart disease. The danger with atherosclerosis is that the plaque can rupture and lead to clots that block blood flow to the heart or brain, causing a heart attack or stroke. Sound scary? Fortunately, you can avoid plaque buildup. “Heart disease can be prevented,” says Dr. Jennifer Mieres, a spokesperson for the AHA. “The key is to control your risk factors.”