Lowering Your Risk of Heart Disease

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By Deborah Scott, CNP

February 11, 2019

February is American Heart Month. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and in Ohio. One in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke. There are several risk factors for heart disease--some are controllable, others are not. Uncontrollable risk factors include the following: male gender, older age, family history of heart disease, post menopausal, and race (African-Americans, Native Americans, and Mexican Americans are more likely to have heart disease than Caucasians).

Many heart disease risk factors can be controlled. By making changes in your lifestyle, you can actually reduce your risk for heart disease. Controllable risk factors include the following: smoking, high LDL (or bad) cholesterol, low HDL (or good) cholesterol, uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure), physical inactivity, obesity, uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrollable stress and anger.

What can you do to lower your risk?

  • 1. Quit smoking
  • 2. Improve cholesterol levels. Talk to your health care provider.
  • 3. Control high blood pressure (your top number should be less than 140 and your bottom number less than 90)
  • 4. Get active. Even leisure-time activities like gardening or walking can lower your risk for heart disease. Most people should exercise 30 minutes a day, at moderate intensity, on most days.
  • 5. Eat right. Follow a diet low in salt, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and refined sugars.
  • 6. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts significant strain on your heart.
  • 7. Control diabetes by following a healthy diet, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, and taking medications as prescribed by your health care provider.
  • 8. Manage stress. Use stress and anger management techniques to lower your risk.

Deborah Scott is a Certified Nurse Practitioner with the Gnadenhutten office of the Trinity Medical Group. She also provides care through the hospital’s Center for Wound Management.


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