Heart disease is the number one cause of death in women in the United States. Risk factors include diet, smoking, exercise level, stress, caffeine, alcohol intake and genetics. Often heart disease could be prevented if we make a lifestyle change and decrease our risk factors. New research shows that there is a connection between the digestive bacteria in our guts and heart disease. Scientists may be close to finding a way to prevent heart disease by neutralizing the breakdown of certain microorganisms that live in the human gut. When we eat foods such as egg yolks and fatty meats high in choline, the bacteria in our gut breaks it down and our liver produces more TMAO. High levels of TMAO in the blood are linked with heart disease and cause plaque to build up in the arteries. If there is less TMAO in your bloodstream, your risk of heart disease would also be lessened.
While this new research is exciting, it is still just research. There are lots of things you can do now to reduce your risk of heart disease. Altering your lifestyle and diet by adding more exercise, limiting your alcohol and caffeine intake and quitting smoking all help to decrease your risk of heart disease.
Talk with your doctor about your risks and what you can do to reduce those risks of developing heart disease or treating any disease you may already have. It is a common misconception that women are not as affected by heart disease as men, and therefore it is often overlooked by women when talking with their doctor or examining their own risk factors or symptoms. It is surprising that the number one killer of women is also a preventable one. Don’t add to the statistic. If you have any concerns or just want to talk about your risk factors, call your doctor at The Woman’s Clinic today.