Preventing Heart Disease

As a leading cause of death and disability, most of us would like to prevent heart disease.  The following guidelines not only help to prevent heart attacks but also work to prevent strokes, TIAs, and PAD (artery disease).

If you want to get an idea of your risk of heart disease, go to the American Academy of Cardiology web site…Tools.acc.org.  By entering your cholesterol and blood pressure values you can get an estimate of your future risk of an artery problem.

Prevention tips:

  • Nutrition: A diet high in the following items has been proven to cause heart disease:  Sugar, artificial sweeteners, high carbohydrates, red meat, processed meats (deli meats, hot dogs, sausage), processed grains, fat, and sodium (salt).

However, someone who follows a Mediterranean-style diet fair better.  This is a diet focused on vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, vegetable protein, and fish.

  • Weight: Those who are overweight, BMI>30, have a higher risk of heart disease. Losing just 5% of your weight will lower Blood Pressure, sugar, and cholesterol.
  • Activity: All adults should get an average of 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. This comes out to five 30 minutes sessions or 20 minutes a day.
  • Diabetes: Those whose A1c is under 7 have fewer heart issues.
  • Cholesterol: The target is to get the bad LDL (L for lousy) as close to 100 as possible. Statin medications have proven very helpful and are well tolerated.
  • Blood Pressure: High BP causes more heart problems than any other risk factor. The goal is to stay below 140/90 and closer to 120/80.
  • Tobacco: Using any form of tobacco will eventually cause artery disease (and emphysema). This includes chewing tobacco and vaping.
  • Aspirin: Taking a baby aspirin is no longer recommended when trying to prevent heart disease.  However, it is very important in preventing a second attack.

 

Your IMA doctor can help you lower your risk of heart disease/stroke with blood tests.  If needed, Dr. Miller, our Cardiologist in charge of the IMA Cardiac Diagnostic Center can perform other tests to help determine your status…A stress test, Echocardiogram, Heart Monitors, X-ray, etc.  IMA also has two fully credentialed Cardiologists on staff who can provide expert consultations.