Valentine’s Day brings out the sensitive nature in many women, giving public health researchers a chance to promote your sweetheart’s heart health.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States, and Colorado School of Public Health researchers are focused on identifying risk factors and means of preventing the disease.
Epidemiologists John Hokanson, PhD and Madiha Abdel-Maksoud, MD, PhD know that triglyceride, a type of fat found in your blood, plays an important role in your risk of heart disease.
“Triglyceride is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease for both men and women,” states Hokanson. “But triglyceride plays a particularly important role in the risk of heart disease among women.
According to Hokinson’s research, triglyceride is an independent risk factor for heart disease, but the risk for women is twice as great as with men.
Extending this research, Abdel-Maksoud has shown that women with low triglyceride and high HDL, the “good cholesterol,” have very low rates of disease, concluding that women are particularly sensitive to differences in heart disease risk from these lipids.
This sensitivity offers an opportunity for women to adjust their risk of heart disease with proper prevention and health promotion.
“Life style changes including exercise and weight loss can lower a woman’s triglycerides and raise her HDL-cholesterol,” states Abdel-Maksoud. “Therefore she lowers her overall risk of heart disease.”
Their research is supported by evidence at the American Heart Association, which celebrates American Heart Month each February. The Association’s Life’s Simple 7 program promotes eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical activity. Healthy meals ideas include eating a variety of vegetables and fruits high in vitamins, minerals and fibers; and fish twice per week. The association also recommends 30 minutes of exercise each day.
So give in to the sensitive nature of women’s heart this Valentine’s Day. Trade out the chocolate box and flowers for a healthy fish and vegetable dinner, then enjoy intimate walk around town. Her heart is sure to thank you.