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New women’s heart guidelines

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, accounting for one in four female deaths. To reduce a woman’s lifetime heart disease risk, the American Heart Association (AHA) recently updated their guidelines. The new recommendations include:

  • quitting smoking with smoking-cessation therapies, such as counseling and nicotine replacement, and avoiding secondhand smoke
  • exercising a minimum of 30 minutes a day, increasing to 60 to 90 minutes on most days of the week to lose or maintain weight
  • eating a heart-healthy diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods; limiting alcohol and sodium; reducing saturated fat intake to less than 7 percent of total calories (down from 10 percent); and eating fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol to less than 70 mg/dL for women at very high risk for heart disease
  • considering low-dose aspirin therapy for all women ages 65 and older and increasing the upper dose of aspirin therapy to 325 mg per day (from 162 mg) for those at high risk