It is essential for women to know their risk factors for heart diseases-and how it is different from that of men. It is mistaken that heart disease is a health issue for men only. But the lesser-known fact is that heart diseases kill almost as many women as men in The United States.
The term heart disease refers to several types of heart conditions, including coronary artery disease, valve disorders, congenital defects, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and heart attack. High blood pressure, high values of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and smoking are found to be the major contributing reasons to heart-related diseases. The studies have found that about half of the population of the United States have at least one of these risk factors.
Although most of the risk factors to heart disease are well known- smoking, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle- we are learning more about the link between mental health, particularly depression and the risk of heart disease. Research tells that depression increases the probability of developing heart disease and stroke, even after considering factors such as smoking. This is important for women because they are twice as likely as men to develop depression.
It is important for women to develop a personal toolkit of sorts minimize stress. To that end, here are some suggestions to consider inculcate in your self-care practice.
- Practice positivity in thinking:
Negative self-talk can lead to an endless stream of painful thoughts and limiting beliefs. Some of them include Magnifying negative aspects of the situation, blaming yourself when something bad happens, expecting the worse all the time, etc.
- Practice relaxation techniques:
At middle age, the concept of relaxing may be limited to an annual vacation. However, even a few minutes daily to step aside, remain quiet and focus on your breathing can help. Be persistent. Read good books before your bedtime.
- Control Clutter:
One of the most frustrations I hear from women is that they feel overwhelmed with appointments, texts, emails, and family duties. Asking for help is ok. Even a daily break from social media can bring a sense of restoration to an overly active mind.
- Take time for yourself:
It is understandable that women feel shy taking time for themselves, especially at middle age when responsibilities of home, career, and parental care can be intense. Rather than trying to find a way to fit everything in, try to find a way to leave some things out.