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February 10, 2015

Prevent Heart Disease by Keeping that Heart Healthy!

Did you know that some health conditions and lifestyle factors can put people at a higher risk for developing heart disease?  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the two main reasons people have heart disease or stroke are because of high blood pressure and cholesterol, which are common, deadly, and preventable.

heart health
Nearly 2 out of 3 adults with high cholesterol and about half of adults with high blood pressure don't realize they could have a health issue.  Making healthy choices and managing any medical conditions you may have can help you gain control of these health risks, which is why we’ve pulled together some facts about high blood pressure and cholesterol to help keep your risk for heart disease to a minimum: 

Blood Pressure

(should be less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic)

  • What is it? Mayo Clinic defines high blood pressure as a common condition in which the force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease. Blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.
  • Hidden symptoms – High blood pressure can be present for years without showing any symptoms, but once they are detected, you and your doctor can create a plan to get it under control.
  • Take control– If you have high blood pressure, it can be lowered by exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet that is low in sodium, staying away from alcohol and tobacco, cutting back on caffeine, and trying to reduce your stress.
    • It is best to set a routine to monitor your blood pressure if it is high; you can see how positive changes will impact your numbers and continue to make adjustments in your lifestyle to get your blood pressure back to a healthy level.

Cholesterol

(should be an LDL level below 130 mg/dL)

  • What is it? Mayo Clinic defines cholesterol as a waxy substance that's found in the fats (lipids) in your blood. While your body needs cholesterol to continue building healthy cells, having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease.
  • Hidden symptoms – High cholesterol has no symptoms.  A blood test is the only detection method.  When you have high cholesterol, you may develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries. Your heart may not get as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs, which increases the risk of a heart attack. Decreased blood flow to your brain can cause a stroke.
  • Take control – High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) can be inherited, but it's often the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, and thus preventable and treatable. A healthy diet, regular exercise and sometimes medication can go a long way toward reducing high cholesterol.

What have you done today to keep your heart healthy?  Comment below!

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