Heart Attacks in Middle-Aged Women: Lower Your Risk
Relax and Say ‘Om’
If you have trouble keeping stress at bay, you can’t beat transcendental meditation, Steinbaum says. This is a way to calm the mind by repeating a word or string of words over and over. And you don’t have to go to a class. You can even download apps on your phone.
If meditation's not your thing, don’t sweat it. Try to find something to do that gets your mind off your worries.
Get enough rest, too. “I think sleep is a huge issue,” Steinbaum says. “A lot of women sacrifice this major, major piece of living in favor of doing it all.”
To get better Zzz’s, start a bedtime ritual.
- Make a list of things on your mind, or keep a night journal. This helps unload your brain.
- Engage your senses. Feel the sheets, listen to the night sounds, and smell the air. This brings you into the present.
- Tense your toes, hold for 10 seconds, and release for 10. Do this cycle 10 times to relax your body.
“People should be trying to keep to more of a Mediterranean-style diet, which reduces heart-clogging saturated fats” and adds healthier ones, Ouyang says.
This means it's a good idea to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and less red meat. Choose olive oil over butter and margarine, and eat more fish. If you like to drink alcohol, have small amounts of red wine.
“The other thing that would help people is [to] learn to cook and eat at home,” Ouyang says. This can also help tighten the family bonds and trim the budget.
Get Real About Aging
In Western culture, we strive to look and feel young. But by the time people in the U.S. reach age 60, 50% will have heart problems, Steinbaum says.
How can you avoid them? First, learn about health issues in your background. “If you have [a] risk of heart disease in your family, you’ll have to be extra vigilant and get started right now,” she says.
Start checking your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, Ouyang advises. As you age, the good kinds of cholesterol in your body tend to go down. But the bad types slowly build up. Keep an eye on these things and you’ll be better able to manage them.