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A part of your cardiovascular risk could be inherited from your parents. Knowing any history of heart attack, stroke, or diabetes will make you aware of these potential problems. Make sure to discuss any such problems with your physician for a full assessment of your cardiovascular risk.

Ideal body weight is determined by your body shape and height. These are also the factors that determine your risk for cardiac events. Increased weight leads to higher blood pressure, higher incidence of diabetes, and increased chance of heart attack. Remember to discuss any weight issues with your physician. Please follow this link for the recommended height/weight Body Mass Index chart.

Diets that are low in fat and high in fiber with an adequate amount of protein are recommended. You should avoid saturated fats and cholesterol. Also, trans fats are known to be a risk factor for cardiac events. Look for foods marked with zero trans fats in your grocery store. Avoid excess salt—a good tip is not to have a salt shaker at your dining table. More information.

30 to 40 minutes of aerobic exercise 4-5 days a week is recommended. Even modest to moderate exercise such as brisk walking done on a regular basis will provide cardiovascular benefits. To increase stamina, moderate to heavy exercise or sports are recommended. Consult your physician before starting an exercise program.

Smoking is harmful to the cardiovascular system as well as various other organs. Smoking increases the risk of heart attack, strokes, and PAD (peripheral arterial disease). For men, it also contributes to erectile dysfunction. Second-hand smoke is known to be injurious as well. Speak with a physician to discuss various options to help you quit.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for strokes and heart attacks. Your chances of developing high blood pressure increase with age. At a minimum, an annual blood pressure check is recommended to detect any increase in your blood pressure. Early detection and prompt treatment will reduce any potential complications in the future. Remember that most individuals with high blood pressure have no symptoms. Getting checked for high blood pressure is necessary.

Cholesterol is a substance that builds in the bloodstream and causes blockage (stenosis). These blockages can obstruct the blood supply to various organs and can result in heart attack, stroke, and PAD (peripheral arterial disease). Timely detection and adequate treatment of cholesterol can minimize these risks. Learn about the ‘good’ cholesterol, ‘bad’ cholesterol, and the fat particle levels in your blood, as they are all important in determining your cardiovascular risk. More information.

Heavy drinking is a risk factor for developing liver disease but also high blood pressure (hypertension). If you drink, it should be in moderation. For males, up to two drinks a day and for females one drink a day is usually considered acceptable. Also, if you drink, drink small amounts regularly rather than large amounts occasionally, such as over the weekend or for special events.

High blood sugar (diabetes) is a very strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Keeping your weight in control and exercising regularly are very important in preventing the onset of diabetes. Periodic checking of blood glucose is an easy way to look for the presence of diabetes. Adequate treatment of high blood sugar is useful in reducing your cardiovascular risk.

To achieve good cardiovascular health, you should follow up with your cardiologist, internest, and PA on a regular basis. The frequency of your visits will vary depending upon your risk status and whether or not you already have a disease. Write down any questions and discuss those with your doctors on your visits. Your doctor is there to help you, but please make sure that you bring up any issue or question that you have regarding your cardiovascular health. Here at Cardiovascular Associates, we are available to guide you, so feel free to discuss any questions or concerns you might have.

The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it is provided for educational purposes only.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.