Heart Association Revises Guidelines for Women

Wed, 12 Oct. 2011 - 8:40 p.m. MT
Credit: ARA Staff - American Running Association


New guidelines for women and heart health have emerged recently from the American Heart Association. The information comes after medical evidence has shown that more U.S. women are at risk of heart disease and stroke than had been previously thought.
 
The guidelines now suggest that even healthy women should reduce fat intake and get 30 minutes of exercise daily. To lose weight, the association recommends that women walk briskly or perform another similarly moderate physical activity for up to an hour and a half on most days. And the Heart Association recommends that women take more aggressive steps when young to avoid problems later.
 
The role of aspirin in women’s heart health, for example, is reexamined in the new guidelines. Always consult your doctor before beginning a daily dose of aspirin, even in reduced dosages, as is usually prescribed (the 82 mg known as “baby” aspirin). The anti-coagulant properties in aspirin may not be necessary in those with normal arterial blood flow and can be harmful in people who are prone to ulcers or GI bleeds. Yet, the association now says that both healthy men and women over the age of 45 should explore the risks and benefits of a daily low-dose aspirin to stave off heart attacks—whereas they previously have recommended it for men only, and for men and women who are considered at high risk of an attack.
 
The Heart Association also mentions that there are no reliable studies indicating that women could benefit from certain dietary supplements like folic acid and supplemental vitamins E, C and beta carotene. While the cell-maintenance properties of these antioxidants are often touted and seldom disputed, consuming them in large doses in unregulated pill form has little basis as of yet in evidentiary literature. But women should eat fish at least twice a week, the guide says. And women who've been diagnosed with heart disease should consider a daily capsule of omega-3 fatty acids like the ones found in oily fish.
 
 
(National Public Radio, All Things Considered, February 19, 2007, “Heart Group Upgrades Risks, Tips for Women,” http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7489287)
 
(RUNNING & FITNEWS®February / March 2007 • Volume 25, Number 2)


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