Three Things That Make Women More at Risk of Heart Disease

Most of the things that make a person more vulnerable to heart disease are not surprising: family history, smoking habit, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet. What you don’t know is that there are risks that seem to have no connection with the heart and are not necessarily bad for the health.

In fact, being a woman yourself makes you more susceptible to heart attacks than men. You would want to take extra precaution (and visits to the doctor) if you experienced the following.

You got your first menstruation before you hit 12

Apparently, the earlier that you begin puberty, the higher the risk is for cardiovascular problems later in life. There’s no solid link between the two, but cardiology specialists observe that most girls who get their periods way earlier than usual have higher body fat levels during childhood. That can inevitably raise problems related to heart disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol, later in adulthood.

If you’re an early bloomer, make sure to pay more attention to living a healthy lifestyle. Ditch the junk in your plate, and instead, choose vegetables. Red and orange veggies, like carrots and sweet potatoes, contain carotenoids, fiber, and vitamins that strengthen the heart. Greens, such as asparagus and broccoli, have vitamins C and E, calcium, and potassium, which are helpful for cardiovascular health, too.

You had a rough pregnancy

pregnant woman holding her belly

Carrying a human being for nine months means that your circulatory system works doubly hard. The heart pounds more forcefully. The blood volume increases. The blood vessels dilate. These can already make you more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease.

But if you also suffered from gestational diabetes or preeclampsia (a condition characterized by high blood pressure and high level of protein in the urine), you can well expect some heart complications in the future.

In this case, the best thing to do aside from living healthier is to consult your doctor regularly. They should run tests on you to detect problems early on and treat them accordingly. Now, if you’re still on your pregnancy journey, do your best to improve your diet and fitness level. This can help prevent preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.

You broke up with your spouse

We’re used to saying we’re heartbroken when this happens. Apparently, that description is apt not just for what you feel, but also for what could be happening inside your body. You could literally have a broken heart syndrome, a heart condition triggered by divorce or any tragic life event.

Since distressing incidents can’t be completely avoided, what matters here is how you respond to what happens in your life. How you process your grief over the break-up. Turn yourself to healthy coping mechanisms, like meditating, engaging in therapy, and reconnecting with loved ones. Avoid isolation.

It’s not just your bad habits or family history that are making you at risk of heart disease. It could be your childhood, your pregnancy, or your recent heartbreak. Watch out for these factors and live a healthier life moving forward.

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