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Heart Health

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Did you know that heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States? If you have congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, or have had a heart attack, here are some useful health tips you should follow:

High Blood Pressure

  • Take your medications as instructed by your doctor.
  • Monitor your weight.
  • Exercise as instructed by your doctor.
  • Visit your doctor regularly to check your blood pressure.
  • See your doctor on a regular basis.
  • Avoid foods high in salt content.

Congestive Heart Failure (Heart Disease)

  • Take your medications as instructed by your doctor. Remember to ask your doctor about possible side effects.
  • Monitor your weight every day. Immediately report any increase of more than 3-4 pounds to your doctor.
  • Avoid eating salty foods. Do not add salt to your food at the table. Ask your doctor for information on how to maintain a low sodium diet.
  • If you smoke, STOP!  Ask your doctor what you can do to stop smoking and visit Healthfirst’s Quit Smoking (No Butts Allowed) site for more information.
  • Follow the exercise program given to you by your doctor.
  • Visit your doctor regularly, and go to your heart specialist when advised by your doctor.

Cholesterol

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fat found in milk, cheese, eggs and meat. Your liver also makes its own cholesterol. The body needs only a small amount of cholesterol to work. If you have high cholesterol, it could lead to clogged arteries and heart problems.

What can I do to manage my cholesterol?

The higher your blood cholesterol, the greater your risks of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. That's why it's important to have your blood cholesterol levels checked regularly and discuss the results with your doctor so that you can receive the appropriate treatment.

Your blood cholesterol is primarily made up of two kinds of cholesterol:

  1. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is the “bad” cholesterol. When too much of it circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain.
  2. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is the “good” cholesterol. The HDL helps remove “bad” cholesterol from arteries and prevent blockage.

Normal levels:         

  • Total cholesterol - Less than 200 mg/dL
  • LDL (“bad” cholesterol) - Less than 100 mg/dL
  • HDL (“good” cholesterol) - 40 mg/dL or higher
  • Triglycerides - Less than 150 mg/dL

Also, the right eating plan will help you focus on good foods to eat. In fact, adding healthy foods to your diet is just as important as cutting back on unhealthy foods.

Here are some tips:

  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Try to eat at least 5 servings each day.
  • Use healthy oils like olive or canola oil when cooking. Skip the butter or lard. Also avoid foods that contain “partially hydrogenated” oils, also known as trans fats.
  • Eat small amounts of meat and cheese. Try to eat skinless poultry and lean meats. Eating more fish and bean dishes can also help.
  • Instead of white bread or white rice, eat whole grain, high fiber foods.

To learn more about the prevention of heart disease:

Last update 2013-10-03 22:08
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