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Leading cause of death for women: heart disease

Editor's note: The following information was provided by Todd County Health and Human Services.

Get informed. Here are facts on women and heart disease:

• Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.

• Some conditions and lifestyle choices increase a person's chance for heart disease, including diabetes, overweight and obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol use.

• High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. LDL is considered the "bad" cholesterol because having high levels can lead to buildup in your arteries and result in heart disease and stroke.

You can lower your chance of heart disease and a heart attack by taking simple steps:

• Eat a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. Choose foods low in saturated fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

• Be physically active. Adults should strive for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (or 150 minutes total) of physical activity each week. You can spread your activity out during the week, and can break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day.

• Be smoke free. If you are ready to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569 for Spanish speakers) for free resources, including free quit coaching, a free quit plan, free educational materials, and referrals to other resources where you live.

• Limit alcohol use, which can lead to long-term health problems, including heart disease and cancer. If you do choose to drink, do so in moderation, which is no more than one drink a day for women. Do not drink at all if you are pregnant.

• Know your family history. There may be factors that could increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Source: www.cdc.gov

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