Women who live a healthy lifestyle cut their risk of sudden cardiac death by more than 90 percent, a new study shows.
The study sponsored by the Society for Women's Health Research and Women Heart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, defines a healthy lifestyle as: not smoking, keeping weight down, exercising regularly and eating healthy.
"A woman's heart is her major health threat and everyone who takes care of a woman has to realize that," said Emory University cardiologist Dr. Nanette Wenger, who co-authored the report.
"The interesting thing is that some of this activity doesn't have to be an exercise program. It simply has to be not sitting," said Dr. Paul Thompson, director of cardiology at Hartford Hospital.
"There are some studies that show that you get a lot of the benefits of exercise simply by being on your feet, and not sitting at a desk," he said.
Experts say they knew that healthy living helped prevent many chronic diseases, but they were surprised at how strongly lifestyle factors were associated with preventing sudden cardiac death.
More than 200,000 people experience sudden cardiac death in the U.S. every year.