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Moderation Is The Key To Heart Health

May 13, 2008
It seems every time we take a step forward in health care, we take one backwards. For every new discovery they make, there is a counter-productive effect. However, some of these can be controlled like most things through moderation and sensible health care.

This is where people think that heart rate monitors are only for those on a health kick but it wouldn't hurt more women to wear them to keep an eye on their general health, particularly from middle age onwards.

It is true that women have an advantage over men when it comes to heart disease but this should never be taken for granted unless you want to find yourself a statistic of the 1.1 million women in the UK every year to develop a heart condition. Oestrogen is the main defence women have against developing heart problems before the menopause.

However, obesity among women in the UK is becoming a growing problem - literally - and needs to be addressed. In the backlash against the size zero celebrities of today, real women have been making a stand to say, hey, this is what we are and this is what we are meant to look like.

True, women are meant to have curves and will naturally lay down more fat stores than a man due to the fact that we have the babies to nurture. However, this should be kept in check. Obese women who claim to be fit and healthy because they are active are simply kidding themselves. If they were to spend some time wearing a heart rate monitor they may find they're not as healthy as they think.

Even if an overweight woman is physically active she is still at a fifty four per cent higher risk of developing heart disease than someone of moderate build. If she is obese, these chances increase to a whopping eighty seven per cent. So, it makes no odds that she may be physically active, her heart will still be feeling the strain and this may not even show up on a heart rate monitor but it would be a start to check this.

Obesity brings about an increase in oestrogen levels which seems a little contradictory when we see this hormone protects against heart disease yet just by being obese the chances of developing it are so much higher. Would you really want to test the theory?

If levels of oestrogen are raised over a significant period of time before the menopause then the chances of developing breast cancer after menopause are greatly increased. This is another drawback to obesity.

For the women who already suffer thinning bones and who have been prescribed drugs to combat this, it has been found that they are more likely to develop an irregular heartbeat. While this in itself is not life threatening it can lead to the blood pooling which in turn leads to potentially dangerous clots.

A heart rate monitor would keep an eye on this and would possibly be a first indication, giving the user time to take action.

Of course, the risk of heart problems in women should be addressed but men should not be overlooked. They are more susceptible to heart disease and would benefit from using heart rate monitors.

With their culture of burning the candle at both ends, men often unwind with a few drinks in the pub after work and sometimes resort to caffeine rich energy drinks to help them keep going. One man who unfortunately found out too late how bad this is for you recently died from the effects of an enlarged heart due to his drinking at least four cans of Red Bull a day.

This led to a build up of caffeine which did the damage to his heart. As with all things, moderation in diet, weight and exercise is the key.
About the Author
Health expert Catherine Harvey looks at the use of heart rate monitors to watch heart health.
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