Cardiologist reveals the six things women should never do

I’m a cardiologist and these are the six things women should never do to keep their heart healthy

  • Dr Lucy McGrath-Cadell reveals how to lower risk of heart disease 
  • Vaping, excess alcohol and lack of sleep are key bad habits
  • READ MORE: The potentially deadly condition more than 500,000 Aussies don’t know they have 

Dr Lucy McGrath-Cadell, from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney, said three in ten women in Australia were dying from cardiovascular disease

A leading cardiologist has revealed the six biggest threats to Aussie women’s heart health with vaping or smoking, poor sleep and excessive boozing among the most dangerous habits.

Dr Lucy McGrath-Cadell, from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney, said three in ten Australian women were dying from cardiovascular disease.

She said there were several basic lifestyle choices women ‘can’t afford to ignore’ to lower their risk of heart problems.

Never think it can’t happen to you

Dr McGrath-Cadell warned that while some people may believed they’re in the clear because they live a healthy lifestyle, heart conditions can be caused by genetics.

‘You run, eat well, don’t smoke, and maintain a healthy weight, so clearly you have little to worry about when it comes to heart disease. Unfortunately, that’s not entirely true,’ she said.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is one disease caused by mutated genes and leads to the heart muscle ‘thickening’.

It’s also one of the leading causes of sudden cardiac death in young people.

Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) occurs mostly in women aged in their late 40s to early 50s, the majority of whom are mostly healthy.

The disease is responsible for about 25 per cent of heart attacks in women under the age of 50 and is the most common cause of heart attacks in pregnant women.

Dr McGrath-Cadell urged women to be aware of their family history and have regular heart health checks, and assess their cholesterol and blood pressure. 

Dr McGrath-Cadell warned Aussies who don’t get enough sleep are at risk of heart disease (stock image)

Never ignore sleep

Dr McGrath-Cadell explained that those who get less than seven hours sleep, or more than nine hours, are at greater risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

‘Most people are aware of the role a healthy diet and exercise plays in heart health, but one of the lesser-known lifestyle risk factors for heart disease is poor sleep,’ the cardiologist said.

‘Almost 60 percent of adult Australians suffer from at least one chronic sleep symptom, so now is the time to work on your sleep hygiene.’

Never disregard the importance of diet and exercise

The cardiologist said people should ideally try to be active everyday, while minimising long periods of sitting or lying down.

Eating fresh food, minimising processed foods and using unsaturated fats is another tip to help reduce the risk of heart disease.

While a glass of wine a couple of times a week is no cause for concern, research has shown that abstinence works wonders for a person’s heart

Never drink excessive amounts of alcohol

While a glass of wine a couple of times a week is no cause for concern, research has shown that abstinence works wonders for a person’s heart.

Dr McGrath-Cadell said for those with heart problems such as cardiac rhythm issues, ‘the consumption of alcohol is likely to be detrimental at any amount’.

Never ignore symptoms of heart disease

Dr McGrath-Cadell said understanding the symptoms of potential heart issues was also important.

‘Early detection is crucial in preventing other health consequences of heart disease,’ she said.

‘This is particularly true for women, whose symptoms may be overlooked or misunderstood.’

She said symptoms of heart attacks in women can vary from those in men.

Only one in three women will have ‘typical’ symptoms of a heart attack, Dr McGrath-Cadell said, such as chest pain.

Instead, women may be given warning signs such as pain in the neck, jaw, shoulders or upper back, shortness of breath, pain in one or both arms, nausea, dizziness and breaking out into a cold sweat.

Dr McGrath-Cadell also warned against smoking and vaping for a healthier heart (stock image)

Never vape or smoke

In what Dr McGrath-Cadell said should be obvious to many, smoking or vaping is strongly associated with heart disease.

Smoking affects the vessels that supply blood to the heart, reducing the amount of oxygen in the blood.

Those who smoke are at greater risk of heart issues, and at much younger ages. 

‘Quitting smoking or vaping is one of the best things you can do for your heart health,’ Dr McGrath-Cadell said.

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