Make this the year you take control of maintaining a healthy heart for life.
Perhaps you’re one of the millions who ended the year with resolve to take charge of their health and turned over a new leaf in January, with a firm commitment to a personal health makeover.
If you need a jumpstart to clean up your act, consider this: Heart disease accounts for nearly 25 percent of all deaths in the U.S., according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Ischemic heart disease—or Coronary Artery Disease — along with stroke are the biggest killers of women, accounting for about one in every four deaths. Make 2018 the year to support your personal heart health — for life.
Know Your Risk Factors
Achieving heart health can seem overwhelming, so I educate and empower patients by helping them understand risk factors that that often are simply beyond control, like age and family health history. Manageable risk factors include smoking, diet and exercise.
Know Your Numbers
Most of us don’t know the four most important numbers that can help indicate risk of developing heart disease: Blood pressure, blood sugar, blood cholesterol and body mass index (BMI). Combining and reviewing these stats help your doctor determine where you stand with heart disease.
Preventing heart disease is evaluating the big picture, and your numbers play a critical role. Request the standard blood work next time you’re at the doctor — and if it’s been
When it comes to protecting your heart, practice doesn’t always make perfect, but 80 percent of the time, heart disease is preventable. Here are three key strategies to help you get started — but there are more like sleep, weight and stress management and regular health screenings.
SMOKING. Using tobacco of any kind represents one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals found in tobacco can damage the heart and blood vessels, eventually leading to narrowing of the arteries due to plaque buildup. If you can’t stop smoking on your own, consult with your physician or ask your employer about smoking cessation classes.
EXERCISE. Regular physical activity can help control weight and reduce your chances of developing other health conditions that can strain the heart, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity or a combination of the two.
DIET. Eating a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains helps reduce heart disease risk. Add in beans, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, lean meats and fish and you have a winning recipe. Avoid too much salt and sugars and limit saturated and trans fats.
If you or a loved one has signs or symptoms of heart attack (chest pressure, sweating, nausea, cold clammy skin for men and shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea and confusion for women) call 9-1-1 or go immediately to the nearest emergency room.
By Andrea Yang, M.D.,
Board Certified Cardiologist
HCA Midwest Health