Tuesday, May 22, 2007

7 Tips for Lowering Your Risk for Heart Disease

Heart disease is one of the number one killers of women. Though women suffer fewer heart attacks than men, they are less likely to survive when they do have a heart attack. Men and women should be mindful of the risks of heart disease and take steps to reduce their risk.

  1. Stop smoking. Smoking increases the risk of heart disease. If you are having trouble, try using a nicotine patch or the gum.
  2. Know your blood pressure. When the arteries of the body and the heart are narrowed due to plaque buildup in the vessels, blood pressure will increase. When blood is under such pressure, it can dislodge pieces of arterial plaque into the bloodstream. This could lead to a heart attack if the plaque lodges in a coronary artery or a stroke if the plaque lodges in the brain.
  3. Have your cholesterol checked. High blood cholesterol leads to plaque deposits on the walls of arteries. As more plaque builds up, the vessels will narrow. There are three main components: HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. HDL lowers total blood cholesterol by removing plaques that have been deposited on the walls of arteries. LDL causes the plaques to stick to the arteries in the first place. Triglycerides are a fatty substance in the blood. High triglyceride levels have been linked to heart disease. The doctor may prescribe medication to lower your blood cholesterol. A number less than 200 mg/dl is desirable.
  4. Lose weight if necessary. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential to lowering your risk of heart disease. Carrying too much weight, especially around the midsection, increases the strain on your heart, not to mention your back and your legs.
  5. Start an exercise program. Performing an exercise for at least thirty minutes most days of the week will increase your cardiovascular health and your oxygen output. Aerobic exercise also helps you sleep better at night and maintain an overall good mental attitude.
  6. Check for diabetes. Developing diabetes puts you at risk for developing heart disease down the road. If you are diabetic, get your blood sugar under control with insulin shots or a change in diet. Your doctor will determine which is better for you.
  7. Change your eating habits. A healthy diet consists of whole grains, vegetables, fresh fruits, and low-fat dairy products. Lean beef, chicken, and pork will provide daily protein along with fish and seafood. Invest in a good multivitamin to provide the nutrients that you may miss from day to day.

Heart disease doesn’t have to affect you. Know the warning signs and the risks. Work with a doctor to lower your chances of suffering a heart attack.

1 comment:

Abui said...

Hi Tracy,

I really like what you're doing with your blogg. I think it's a wonderful resource for parents. Though I am not a parent myself, I'm most definitely going to direct my friends to your page. Keep up the good work!
Abui Beckley