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Cardiovascular Health Q3 2023

Heart health for women: how to reduce disease risk and love your heart

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Janis Morrissey

Director of Health Promotion, Irish Heart Foundation

Women can reduce their risk of heart disease with lifestyle interventions, including self-care, reducing stress and engaging in physical activity.

One in four women die from heart disease and stroke each year — the same as men. There are female-specific factors that affect a woman’s risk, including menopause. However, the good news is that around 80% of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable through healthy lifestyles.  

Empowering women with a healthy heart 

Most women already know what makes a healthy lifestyle, but the many demands of modern life can get in the way. The Irish Heart Foundation has developed the ‘Her Heart Matters’ campaign to help women look after their hearts and advocate for themselves. 

This September, the Irish Heart Foundation is calling on women to put themselves first and make their heart health a priority. It’s not just up to women themselves, so we are also calling on the public to talk, share and empower women to look after their heart health. 

Translating mindset into change 

Getting into the right frame of mind is essential for change. You need to feel ready and have clear, powerful reasons for making a change. As part of the Her Heart Matters campaign, the Irish Heart Foundation has created a free Self-Care and Wellbeing Journal to encourage women to reflect on their lifestyle habits and prepare for meaningful change. 

Getting into the right frame of
mind is essential for change.

Taking steps to manage stress 

While stress is a normal part of life, it can be negative when it starts to impact day-to-day tasks. Many women are juggling multiple demands, and this can be particularly challenging during menopause. Try to keep a regular sleep routine, be physically active and stay connected to friends and family. If you are struggling, contact your GP. 

Physical activity and nutrition 

Regular physical activity and a Mediterranean-style diet are two of the greatest tools for preventing heart disease and stroke as well as helping to reduce some menopause symptoms. Getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity is recommended for good health.  

The Mediterranean-style diet is based around fruit and vegetables, whole grains, beans and other pulses, nuts and seeds. It includes some olive oil, fish, seafood and poultry and is low in sugar, salt, processed foods and red meat. 

Start the conversation  

Be part of the movement with people who want to see change and protect all women from one of Ireland’s biggest killers. Spread the word with your sisters, mothers, daughters and friends.  

For information and practical support, visit

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