5 Ways to Cut Women's Heart Attacks
Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Can Slash Women's Heart Attack Risk by Up to 92%
WebMD News Archive
Step by Step
Every heart-healthy habit helped prevent heart attacks in the women in
For instance, women who ate healthfully and drank modestly were 57% less
likely to have a heart attack than other women.
That's not as high as the 92% drop in heart attack risk for women who also
didn't smoke, had a healthy waist-to-hip-ratio, and exercised regularly. But
it's better than nothing.
The study appears in today's edition of the Archives of Internal
How Exercise Helps the Heart
Another new study shows how exercise helps lower women's risk of heart
Regular physical activity helps prevent heart attacks and other heart
"events" in three ways:
- Through blood chemicals related to inflammation, blood vessel function, and
- By improving blood pressure
- By improving cholesterol levels
Data for the study came from more than 27,000 healthy women aged 45 and
older who were studied for nearly 11 years, on average.
During that time, 979 women had a heart "event" such as a heart
attack, stroke, or coronary artery bypass.
Women who reported regular physical exercise were the least likely to have a
heart "event" during the study, note the researchers.
They included Samia Mora, MD, MHS, of Harvard Medical School and Boston's
Brigham and Women's Hospital. Their study appears online in the journal
What About Men?
Akesson and Mora only studied women. But they expect that the general
findings would also apply to men.
"I am convinced that men would benefit from a similar healthy diet and
lifestyle as the women did in our study," Akesson tells WebMD.
More research is needed to see how closely the results match in men and
women, Akesson adds.
Likewise, Mora tells WebMD via email that "there is no reason to believe
that the findings would not also apply to men, but of course, further studies
should be carried out in men."
"Data from previous studies have clearly shown that exercise and
physical activity reduce cardiovascular events in both men and women (around
30% to 50% reduction in events with no substantial difference in gender),"