If someone asked you to ‘name a disease that kills women’, what would you come up with?
Breast cancer, maybe? Possibly cervical cancer? But would you have considered heart disease?
If not, you should have.
Heart disease is three times more likely to kill a woman in the UK than breast cancer. So why does it not attract more attention?
Flora pro.activ and the British Heart Foundation have teamed up to raise awareness of heart disease among women.
Heart disease tends to be seen as a chronic condition, something that people can live with. And heart attacks are often regarded as a men’s disease by many. It doesn’t help that often there are no obvious signs that accompany the disease.
One of the key factors for heart disease is having high levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance present in your blood; it’s essential for every cell in your body to function correctly. But there are two types, a good kind and a bad kind.
Eating too much saturated fat can be a cause of high cholesterol, although a number of people still have high levels of cholesterol despite eating a healthy diet. You may also be at risk of high cholesterol if you are a women who is over 55 years of age, have diabetes, are of South-Asian origin, are menopausal, have a family history of heart disease or are a smoker.
Your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist can test your blood’s cholesterol level after collecting a small sample, and once you know your levels you can start working at reducing or maintaining them. For a healthy heart, it’s considered best to have a total cholesterol level under 5, a ‘bad’ cholesterol level of less than 3 and a ‘good’ level of more than 1.
Small changes in your diet or lifestyle can significantly lower your cholesterol level, and in doing so reduce your chances of heart disease.
1/ Include plant sterols such as Flora pro.activ in your diet
2/Get More Exercise
Walk, cycle, swim, play games, dance – even housework counts!
3/ Replace bad fats, like butter, with good fats such as a spread such as Flora pro.activ
4/ Eat a variety of foods including whole grains, fruit, vegetables and pulses.
5/ Reduce stress and try and get enough sleep
This post has been sponsored by Flora but all opinions expressed remain my own.