By: Marion Webber
Heart Disease is the number #1 cause of death in the U.S. Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that age-adjusted death rates for cardiovascular disease fell by 60% from 1950-1999.
The medical community treats this as a challenge. Hospitals such as McLaren in Port Huron strive to use new technologies and procedures to raise the survival rates of heart-attack patients.
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There are some things we can do to take a proactive role in battling cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, quit. If you don’t watch what you eat, adopt a heart healthy diet. If you are sedentary, start a regular exercise regimen.
Screening for heart health is a good idea in general, but you should be tested if you meet one or more of the following risk factors:
- 45 years of age or older if you are a man and 55 years or older if you are a woman
- Family history — one primary relative (parent or sibling) or two secondary relatives (grandparent, cousin, etc.) with cardiovascular disease or diabetes before the age of 65 in woman and before 55 in men.
- History of abnormal risk factor (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar) or a previous presumed cardiovascular event
- Overweight and obesity
- Poor diet
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol use
McLaren Port Huron, Cardiology Associates of Port Huron and McLaren Port Huron Center for Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery work closely together to provide comprehensive cardiac services. If you are at risk talk to your primary care physician about making an appointment with a cardiologist. A cardiologist can order tests to determine whether your heart is in good shape and provide necessary treatments and procedures if heart disease is detected.
The long-term strategy in the fight against heart disease is to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle. These steps come from the American Heart Association:
Eat Healthy. Choose foods low in saturated fat, trans fat and sodium. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, fish (preferably oily fish-at least twice per week), nuts, legumes and seeds, and try to eat some meals without meat. Select lower fat dairy products and poultry (skinless). Limit sugar-sweetened beverages and red meat. If you choose to eat meat, select the leanest cuts available.
Be physically active. You can slowly work up to at least 2 1/2 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity every week, or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity or a combination of both every week. Weight training 2 or more days a week is recommended to work all major muscle groups.
Gym not for you? With the weather warming up it is a great time to get out and start walking, gardening, mowing lawn and cleaning!
Manage your blood pressure. High blood pressure is known as “the silent killer” because it has no symptoms. Eating healthy, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting salt and alcohol, and taking medication prescribed by your doctor all help manage high blood pressure.
Control your cholesterol Regular physical activity, limiting saturated fat by limiting red meats and choosing low-fat dairy, and including healthier fats such as certain vegetable oils can help adults who need to lower LDL cholesterol levels. It’s also important to limit trans fats, too. If you are on cholesterol-lowering medication be sure to take it!
Maintain a Healthy Weight. Overweight and obesity are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. For overweight or obese adults with other cardiovascular risk factors (such as high blood pressure), maintaining a weight loss of 3-5 % of body weight can produce clinically meaningful results.
Reduce your blood sugar. Diabetes is a risk for cardiovascular disease. Heart disease death rates among adults with diabetes are 2-4 times higher than adults without it. You can minimize the impact of diabetes on your body — and even prevent or delay the onset of diabetes — by eating right , controlling your weight, exercising and taking medication prescribed by your doctor.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT MCLAREN PORT HURON (810) 987-5000