why women need cardiovascular screenings _ mercy health
Heart and Vascular

Why Women Need Cardiovascular Screenings

Sep 7 2018

All about women and heart disease

It’s widely discussed that cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in American men but many don’t understand it’s also a large threat for women. The good news is that an estimated 80% of cardiovascular disease cases are preventable through lifestyle changes.

However, the longer your heart is under stress, the more likely cardiovascular issues are to develop. The best way to protect yourself against developing heart problems is through regular screenings and a personalized heart health plan.

You may be wondering how soon is too soon to start regular heart screenings? When asked, the majority of Americans thought cardiovascular screening should start at age 40. Meanwhile, the professional recommendation is that women begin getting screenings a full two decades earlier, at age 20.

What is a cardiovascular screening?

Screenings should include tracking risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as body mass index (BMI), blood pressure and waist circumference each year. Cholesterol and glucose levels should be checked at least every four to six years. Screenings are simple and can be done by your primary care physician.

Many women proactively track these factors but are unsure what ranges are considered healthy or what to do when their numbers fall outside of the recommended range. It is important to consult your physician who will look at all these measures, their changes overtime, and additional risk factors such as family history or use of tobacco products when building your heart health plan.

What is a healthy BMI, blood pressure, and cholesterol?

In general, a healthy BMI for a women 20 years and older is between 18.5 and 24.9. This number is determined based on a calculation of height and weight, and can be quickly calculated here.

Estimated healthy blood pressures range between 120/ 80 and 140/90 and waist circumference at or under 35 inches indicates less risk. A larger waist circumference can still be considered healthy for pregnant women.

Cholesterol ranges for women vary by age and it’s important to look at HDL and LDL separately. Generally, total cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter are desired. Finally, a healthy glucose level for a fasting woman ranges from 60-110 mg/dL.

If your numbers are outside of that range, we can help you reduce stress on the heart. Reach out to our team of experts today.

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