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5 Ways to Cut Women's Heart Attacks

Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Can Slash Women's Heart Attack Risk by Up to 92%

How Exercise Helps the Heart

Another new study shows how exercise helps lower women's risk of heart problems.

Regular physical activity helps prevent heart attacks and other heart "events" in three ways:

  • Through blood chemicals related to inflammation, blood vessel function, and clotting
  • 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 Circulation.

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)," Mora writes.

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