Why more women in their 20s, 30s, 40s are at risk for heart disease

By Haley Hernandez - Health Reporter

HOUSTON - The American Heart Association said that 80 percent of the time heart disease is preventable.

According to AHA spokesperson Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, in order to keep their hearts healthy, women need to monitor four numbers:

Blood pressure

Steinbaum said the goal for blood pressure is 120 over 80. They are new guidelines, up from 130 over 80, because maintaining blood pressure at 130/80 can increase chances of heart disease.

Sugar

“We want those sugars to be less than 100,” Steinbaum said.

BMI

Body mass index should be less than 25. Here's how to calculate your number: www.heart.org

Cholesterol

Cholesterol should be less than 200.

Olympic gold medalist Dana Vollmer has been monitoring her heart health since she was 14 years old.

“We discovered that when my heart rate jumped to 250 in practice and we couldn't get it to come back down and it turned out I had an extra electrical pathway,” she explained. “Seeing a cardiologist regularly and keeping track of that, and in 2012 I was actually cleared.”

She's an example of why young women need to know their numbers. Vollmer is endorsing the CVS Minute Clinic free screenings every Wednesday in February.

"Simply walk in and hit ‘I walked in’ on the kiosk,” nurse practitioner, Alex Hacker explained that once a patient is inside the clinic, the appointment takes about 10 minutes.

Vollmer understands the importance of making her health a priority, despite a busy schedule. Now she encourages other women to do the same.

“I thought I was the epitome of health and you know you never know,” she said. “Keeping track and doing regular visits with the doctor even when you're healthy you can catch things early.”

Steinbaum said heart disease takes decades to develop so the earlier and sooner that you know your risk factors, (blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index and sugars numbers) the sooner you can prevent heart disease.

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