My Life CheckOne out of every three women dies from heart disease. That's a serious problem, but the solution may be as simple as counting to seven. The American Heart Association's My Life Check online assessment calculates your risk and takes you through seven simple steps to a healthier heart.

1. Get active

That means 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day (think brisk walking) on most days of the week. And you don't have to block out a full half-hour for exercise because three 10-minute sessions will work just as well.

2. Control cholesterol

Cholesterol leads to blockages in your arteries and veins. You can keep cholesterol in check by eating more foods that are rich in fiber, like beans, whole-grain breads, pasta and rice, or fatty fish such as tuna or salmon. Avoid beef, pork, cheese, or butter that's high in saturated fat.

3. Eat better

Do your grocery shopping in full color. Start in the produce section and stock up on plenty of fruits and vegetables that are naturally rich in color. Skip the process foods and fill your cart with low-fat dairy and lean meats. And don't forget to stop by the seafood counter for fish that should be on your dinner menu twice a week.

4. Manage blood pressure

High blood pressure stretches your arteries and the damage leaves scar tissue that can contribute to blockages and blood clots. Regular physical activity, eating a diet with less sodium, managing stress and limiting alcohol can work to prevent high blood pressure.

5. Lose weight

When you're overweight or obese that extra fat – especially fat around your waist – increases your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Losing weight and keeping it off is the solution, and here's the good news – losing just 10 pounds can significantly improve blood pressure.

6. Reduce blood sugar

Much of the food you eat is turned into blood sugar, which is the fuel our bodies use for energy. Too much blood sugar can affect insulin levels and lead to diabetes that greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. To reduce blood sugar, avoid foods with simple sugars, like soda, candy and sugary desserts, and get more exercise that will help your body control insulin naturally.

7. Stop smoking

If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your heart health. Smoking damages your entire circulatory system. It increases your risk for heart disease, hardened arteries, and blood clots and can reduce good cholesterol and limit lung capacity, making it harder to exercise.


Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax