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Women's Heart Risk Assessment

St. Mary's Offers Heart Risk Assessment

The way you live each day affects your heart.  Changing your lifestyle now could reduce your chances of developing heart disease.  Print and take this simple quiz to find out if you are at risk.  If you are at risk, contact us at (812) 485-5233 to set up an appointment for our women's heart and stroke screening.  After printing, place a check mark in the box to the left of each risk factor that applies to you.  Then, count up your total number of check marks (count each check mark as one point).

 Non-modifiable Risk Factors (things you can't control)
  Family History  Did your father or brother under age 55 or your mother or sister under age 65 have a heart attack, stroke, angioplasty or bypass surgery?
  Older Age  Are you over 55 years old.  After age 65, the death rate increases sharply for women.
 Modifiable Risk Factors (things you CAN control)
  Smoking Do you smoke or are you exposed to secondhand smoke every day?  Smokers are 2 - 4 times more likely to die from heart disease.
  High Blood Pressure

Is your blood pressure over 135/85 mm Hg or you have been told that you have high blood pressure?

Optimal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg.  Drug therapy is indicated when blood pressure is >140/90 mm Hg, or an even lower blood pressure if you have chronic kidney disease or diabetes (>130/90 mm Hg).  Afer age 45, 60% of Caucasian women and 79% of African-American women have high blood pressure.

  Physical Inactivity

Do you not participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, like taking a brisk walk, on most days?  For weight control, women need to exercise with 60-90 minutes of a moderate-intensity activity most days.  

  Diabetes Have you been told that you have diabetes or take medicine to help control your blood sugar?   After age 45, diabetes affects many more women than men.  If diabetic, aim to achieve an HbA1C<7%.
  Blood Cholesterol Levels (Lipids)

Is your HDL (High Density Lipo-protein or "good" cholesterol) less than 50 mg/dL?  LDL goals are dependent upon risk.

The following levels of lipids and lipoproteins in women should be encouraged through lifestyle approaches:  LDL-C<100mg/dL; HDL-C>50mg/dL; triglycerides<150mg/dL; and non-HDL-C (total cholesterol minus HDL cholesterol) <130 mg/dL.  If a women is at high risk or has hypercholesterolemia, intake of saturated fat should be <7% and cholesterol intake <200 mg/d.  For diabetic women, LDL<100.  For vascular disease and very high risk women, LDL<70.  HDL of 60 mg/dL is considered cardio-protective.  You can raise your HDL by taking in 2-3T of olive oil daily, quitting smoking, getting regular aerobic exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.

  Overweight Are you 20 pounds or more overweight?   Ask your health professional if your Body Mass Index (BMI) places you at risk.  Calculate your Body Mass Index
  Metabolic Syndrome

Do you have at least three of a cluster of symptoms that are listed below:

  • High blood sugar>100 mg/dL after fasting
  • High triglycerides - at least 150 mg/dL
  • Low HDL (<50 mg/dL in women)
  • Blood pressure of 130/85 or higher
  • Waist >35 inches.  (Waist measurement of 35 inches or more or waist-to-hip ratio greater than 0.80 is a predictor of high triglycerides and low HDL levels)
  Premature Menopause Did you, by either natural or through surgery, experience early menopause before the age of 40?  This is associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
  Birth Control Pills Are you taking birth control pills?  When combined with regular exposure to cigarette smoke, taking birth control pills greatly increases risk of heart attack and stroke, especially after age 35. 
  Stress Do you have a high demand/low control job or family life with sustained high levels of stress?  Stress is a normal part of life.  How you cope with stress can affect your heart. 
  Unhealthy Diet

Is your diet unhealthy? 

A healthy diet consists of:

  • Eating fruits, vegetables and whole-grain high-fiber foods (aim for 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of whole fruit daily);
  • Eating fish, especially oily fish*, at least twice a week;
  • Limiting saturated fat to <10% of energy, and if possible to <7% cholesterol to <300 mg/dL;
  • Limiting alcohol intake to no more than 1 drink per day;
  • Limiting sodium intake to <2.3 g/d (approximately 1 tsp. salt);
  • Avoiding all trans-fatty acids (listed as "hydrogenated oil" in the ingredients section).

*Pregnant and lactating women should avoid eating fish potentially high in methylmercury.  Check EPA and USFDA websites for updates and advisories.


 Your total number of "yes" answers = ______________

If you have 2 or more "yes" answers, make the changes necessary for a healthier lifestyle and consult your health care provider for a complete assessment.

(Source-WomenHeart and the American Heart Association)

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