Greetings! When asked to write an article on “primary prevention of heart disease” I am eager to give you sounds science and useful tips on how you can stay heart healthy. I hope that you use these tips to have an overall enhancement of your lifestyle.
Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States for both men and women. There are several modifiable risk factors for the prevention of heart disease that you can implement with the help of your primary care physician.
If you smoke STOP! Smoking compromises your cardiopulmonary function. There are several ways to quit smoking. You can try nicotine patches, Wellbutrin, Chantix, acupuncture, and more. Please see your primary care physician for the best treatment for you.
The American Academy of Family Physicians and American Heart Association recommend 30 minutes of physical activity 5 times a weeks. This totals 150 minutes per week. Your heart rate should range between 100-160 beats per minute during those thirty minutes. Examples of good forms of physical activity are brisk walking, swimming, cycling, and yoga. Please see your doctor to lay out a good exercise program for you.
Heart healthy diet
A heart healthy diet consists of eating 1800 to 2000 calories per days. You should eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, low fat or non fat dairy products, fish, legumes, and sources of protein low in saturated fat (e.g. poultry, lean meats, plant sources). Limit saturated fat intake to less than 10% of calories, limit cholesterol intake to less than 300 calories, and limit intake of
A good rule of thumb: you should have a lot of color in your fruits and vegetables. Each type of fruit and vegetable contains necessary vitamins and nutrients. Each your fruits and vegetables lightly cooked or raw and lightly salted.
You should keep your body mass index for women around 18-24 and men 22-25. Weight maintenance happens through portion sizing, and eat the “heart healthy diet”. Weight reduction and maintenance happens through 80% diet and 20% exercise.
Psychosocial factors and depression
Depression may predispose you to cardiac disease by physiologic and behavioral mechanisms. Depression can potentially lead to greater platelet activation, increased inflammatory processes in the boy, mental-stress induced ischemia, and more. Behavioral mechanisms include lack of diet control, exercise, poor social support, and medication non adherence. It is of utmost importance for you to care for your heart on a physical an psychological level. Please speak to your primary care physician for depression screening.
Your blood pressure should be around 120/80. You can screen your blood pressure by purchasing a blood pressure cuff and machine at your local pharmacy. Blood pressure can be maintained by eating a low salt diet and exercise. If you suspect you have high blood pressure, please see your primary care physician for early intervention.
You should have your cholesterol checked once every 3-5 years. This is called a “fasting lipid”. The blood test should be drawn after an 8 hour fast. Your doctor should check for total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL (bad cholesterol), and HDL (good cholesterol). Your LDL should be around 100 and your HDL should be around 35-50.
You should have a “fasting sugar” ordered by your primary care doctor. Again, this should be done on an 8 hour fast. Your sugar level should be below 99 for a normal level. Between 100-125, the diagnosis of “impaired fasting glucose” is given. Above 126, the diagnosis of diabetes is given. Diabetes is a very serious risk factor for heart disease. It is imperative you work with your primary care physician to make sure your sugars are controlled.
The is some evidence that taking 81mg of aspirin a day helps prevent heart disease.
Now you may ask, what are the typical signs and symptoms of chest pain?
Typical chest pain would be left sided, crushing, radiating into the left arm and/or jaw, and heavy pressure. This type of chest pain can be related to your heart. But many times the chest pain is because of heartburn, muscle sprain, and other related diagnoses. Women and diabetics tend to have atypical chest pain.
Please, see your primary care physician to get heart healthy! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at 847 289 8555 or