It took quite sometime to acknowledge that women are equally vulnerable to the most common heart disease as much as men are because both sexes differ in symptoms associated with it.
In men, for instance, the pain caused by angina is dramatic. The same pain is often overlooked in women.
Dr. Alfred Casale, chairman of surgery for the Geisinger Heart Institute, in an article said women also suffer from the hardening of the arteries, but the symptoms are "much subtler and nuanced."
Myths And Facts About Heart Disease In Women
It has long been held that women are not prone to the depredation of even the most common heart ailment. The reasons sometimes rely on myth rather than scientific data.
One belief involves estrogen or some sort of hormonal factors supposedly protecting the lining of blood vessels in women.
Bordering on myth, some even suggest that women do not have as much stress as men, which explains why women are seemingly protected from negative cardiac effects.
Things have changed now. Or at least, the long-held unreasonable beliefs finally give way to reason.
Women, according to Casale, are also vulnerable the way men are. They also experience heart attacks, or even myocardial infarction, but it happens that the symptoms are just different from those of the opposite sex.
Little Things Add Up: Light Exercise OK
Here is advice on how to have a healthy heart: eat better, not much; drink less, if not avoid it altogether; exercise more; and have enough sleep. The rub is that this advice is often ignored by many.
The bright side, however, is that major changes in lifestyle, if unattainable, are not necessary. Some small changes may be enough.
These little changes, if done consistently, can help, says David Goff, director of the cardiovascular sciences division at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.
"Any small change you make in a positive direction is good for you," he said. This means addressing the issue of heart disease is not about deciding between all or nothing.
A perfect example is physical activity which, according to researchers from the University of South Carolina: Columbia, could reduce risks of coronary heart disease and high blood pressure.
The recommended 150 to 300 minutes of exercise per week is ideal, but doing less than that is also fine. The same is true with light exercise, even just a few minutes of standing to interrupt long hours of sitting the whole day.