Heart Disease and Exercise

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Heart disease in the United States is responsible for the death of five times as many women than is breast cancer yet many women are not aware of this fact. In addition, over four million Americans have congestive heart failure that costs the health care system over $10 billion annually. Regardless of the high risks of heart disease and failure which are reported, researchers have found that exercise and other preventative methods can reduce the risk of heart disease by 50 percent and exercise applied to those who have experienced congestive heart failure also helps in improving the overall functionality of the patient. Overall, researchers have found that exercise combined with quitting smoking, reducing cholesterol levels, loss of weight in those who are overweight and for women, the addition of hormone replacement therapy during and after menopause, are all the best preventative measures at lowering the risk of heart disease. While the information about breast cancer in women has increased and women generally seem worried about the risk and chance of breast cancer, few women actually realize that for every woman that dies of breast cancer, five die of heart disease. In a series of recent polls conduction on behalf of Prevention Magazine, only 37% of those polled were aware that the risk of dying from heart disease is greater than that of dying from breast cancer (Prevention, 1997).

Largely, the American population believes that heart disease is mostly affiliated with a man, which is true until women reach menopause and then their rate of heart disease increases and by the time women and men are at the age of 75, the risk of heart disease is equal in men and women. While largely women who die from heart disease may still have ten more years of life than men who do, the exception lies in the population of women with diabetes who actually have a higher-risk of heart disease than do non-diabetic men (Prevention, 1997).

Despite the risk of heart disease in...
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