Heart health

Introduction to #heart health in #women

Generally about 1/3 of a woman’s life is lived after the menopause Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in women as well as men at this age and this is may be due to the drop in oestrogen level that occurs then although it is by no means clear.  Women often gain weight around their middles at this time of life which is a risk factor in itself for heart disease as well as diabetes.

Women can experience the first symptoms of a heart attack differently from men; for example only 30% of women get chest pain, compared to 42% of men, and the yonger the woman is, the less likely she is to get chest pain.

According to the British Heart Foundation over one million women have (CHD) in the UK and around half a million have a heart attack at some point in their lives.  For strokes, more women than men suffer these.  Indeed CHD kills three times more women than breast cancer.


Therefore there is a need to keep an eye on risk factors such as weight, blood pressure and cholesterol level

A healthy diet to offset the risk of heart disease includes:

      Cutting down on fats, especialy saturated and trans fats / change to healthier fats

      Eating more oily fish

      Eating more fruit and vegetables

 Cutting down on  salt, maximum 6g a day

 Drinking alcohol only in moderation

 Increasing  fibre intake

 Keeping active


Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Lifestyle choices can positively affect women’s risk of stroke

Researchers in Sweden have been exploring how positive lifestyle choices can positively affect women’s risk of stroke. Previous research has focused on how lack of exercise, obesity, high alcohol consumption and smoking increase the risk of stroke. For the study five key areas were examined, including healthy diet, not smoking, moderate alcohol consumption, regular exercise and maintaining healthy BMI. The researchers found those who were able to make all five healthy lifestyle factors reduced their risk of stroke by 54 per cent.


July 29, 2014.
© 2014 American Academy of Neurology:

Healthy diet and lifestyle and risk of stroke in a prospective cohort of women Susanna C. Larsson, PhD, Agneta Åkesson, PhD and  Alicja Wolk, DMSc

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Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Mortality doubles in women when diet is high in #calcium and #supplements are also taken

Another study has highlighted possible dangers if women take calcium supplements.

The study looked at calcium intake and cardiovascular mortality in a cohort of Swedish women, and was a prospective, longitudinal, population-based study.

Researchers found high rates of calcium intake were associated with higher all-cause and cardiovascular death rates but not with deaths from stroke.

The study is the latest in a series of contentious analyses linking calcium intake and cardiovascular events. Just previous to this study, a  National Institutes of Health–sponsored study suggested that a high intake of supplemental calcium increased the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) death in men, but not women.

Again, this study seemed to indicate that it was calcium supplements and not calcium from food that was the issue. The highest intakes of calcium (>1400 mg/day) were associated with higher all-cause risk for death as compared with intakes of 600 to 1000 mg/day. All-cause and cardiovascular mortality was especially strong if a high dietary intake of calcium was combined with calcium supplements: Women with the highest intake of calcium (>1400 mg/day) and who used supplement tablets had an all-cause risk for death 2.5 times higher than women who had similar total intakes but were not taking a supplement.



BMJ. Published online February 13, 2013. Full text

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Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

#Atkins style diet harmful to #heart-health of women

A recent study published in the BMJ showed that women are more likely (by 28%) to develop cardiovascular disease (CVD), such as heart disease and stroke, if they regularly consume a low carbohydrate, high protein diet.

The Atkins type diet is very poular for weight loss, particularly among women and up to now, the long term affects of this type of diet has not been clear. The researchers conducted a study of more than 43,000 Swedish women aged 30-49 and followed them for 15 years. Their diet was scored according to how low carbohydrate-high protein it was; a score of 2-19 represented a high intake of carbohydrates and low intake of protein, and a score of 20 represented a low intake of carbohydrates and high intake of protein.

The researchers took into account factors, such as alcohol use, smoking, overall level of activity, diagnosis of hypertension, and saturated/unsaturated fat intake, all of which were likely to influence the results. According to the researchers, the higher the score, the more likely the participant was to experience a cardiovascular event. They found that risk of cardiovascular disease increased by:

* 13% for women who scored 7 to 9

* 23% for those who scored 10 to 12

* 54% for women who scored 13 to 15

* 60% for those who scored 16+


This clearly shows an increase in CVD risk with increasing protein and lowering of carbohydrate intake.

28 Jun 2012, online BMJ

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