Heart-healthy living involves understanding your risk, making choices, and taking steps to reduce your chances of getting heart disease, including coronary heart disease, the most common type. Coronary and other types of heart disease cause heart attacks, but by taking preventive measures, you can lower your risk of developing heart disease and also improve your overall health and well-being.
High blood cholesterol
Fat lodged in your arteries is a disaster waiting to happen. Sooner or later it could trigger a heart attack or stroke. You’ve got to reduce your intake of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol and get moving. If diet and physical activity alone don’t get those numbers down, then medication may be the key. Take it just like the doctor orders. Here’s the lowdown on where those numbers need to be:
- Total Cholesterol
Your total cholesterol score is calculated using the following equation: HDL + LDL + 20 percent of your triglyceride level.
- Low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol = “bad” cholesterol
A low LDL cholesterol level is considered good for your heart health. However, your LDL number should no longer be the main factor in guiding treatment to prevent heart attack and stroke, according to the latest guidelines from the American Heart Association. For patients taking statins, the guidelines say they no longer need to get LDL cholesterol levels down to a specific target number. Lifestyle factors such as a diet high in saturated and transfats can raise LDL cholesterol.
- High-density-lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol = “good” cholesterol
With HDL (good) cholesterol, higher levels are typically better. Low HDL cholesterol puts you at higher risk for heart disease. People with high blood triglycerides usually also have lower HDL cholesterol. Genetic factors, type 2 diabetes, smoking, being overweight and being sedentary can all result in lower HDL cholesterol.
Triglyceride is the most common type of fat in the body. Normal triglyceride levels vary by age and sex. A high triglyceride level combined with low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol is associated with atherosclerosis, the buildup of fatty deposits in artery walls that increases the risk for heart attack and stroke.
Lower high blood pressure
It’s a major risk factor for stroke a leading cause of disability in the United States. Stroke recovery is difficult at best and you could be disabled for life. Shake that salt habit, take your medications as recommended by your doctor and get moving. Those numbers need to get down and stay down. An optimal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 mmHg.
Be physically active every day
Be physically active every day. Research has shown that at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity can help lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and keep your weight at a healthy level. And something IS better than nothing. If you’re inactive now, start out slow. Even a few minutes at a time may offer some health benefits. Studies show that people who have achieved even a moderate level of fitness are much less likely to die early than those with a low fitness level.
If you smoke, quit. If someone in your household smokes, encourage them to quit. We know it’s tough. But it’s tougher to recover from a heart attack or stroke or to live with chronic heart disease. Commit to quit. We’re here to help if you need it.
At least 68% of people >65 years of age with DM die of some form of HD; 16% die of stroke . Other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and lack of physical activity can greatly increase a person with diabetes’ chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
A few studies have noted a relationship between coronary heart disease risk and stress in a person’s life that may affect the risk factors for heart disease and stroke. For example, people under stress may overeat, start smoking or smoke more than they otherwise would. Research has even shown that stress reaction in young adults predicts middle-age blood pressure risk.
Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure, increase cardiomyopathy, stroke, cancer, and other diseases It can contribute to high triglycerides and produce irregular heartbeats. Excessive alcohol consumption contributes to obesity, alcoholism, suicide and accidents.