Consider what you can do to stay heart-healthy

By Dr. Ed Enriquez DPT

One of the reasons that cardiovascular disease can be so dangerous is that it can develop silently. Often, there are no visible warning signs of the risk factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease. You don’t see high cholesterol; you don’t see high blood pressure. That is one of the reasons that annual checkups are recommended. Routine health screening can detect asymptomatic conditions like high blood pressure or cholesterol.
For many people, the first red flag is a major cardiac event. Some people have no symptoms until a heart attack, stroke, or cardiac arrest. These are the three most important events that can take place, and they can be fatal, which is one of the reasons that it is important to identify patients at risk instead of waiting for symptoms.
While genetics do play a role in every aspect of heart disease, the vast majority of cases are due to risk factors that respond to lifestyle modifications. “There are six fundamental risk factors: high blood pressure, obesity, cholesterol, diabetes, being a smoker and being sedentary.
It is necessary to shift in the approach to heart disease, not only preventing disease, but promoting health. Not only because treatment is much more expensive, but promoting health helps people live longer and enjoy a better quality of life, as said by Dr. Valentin Fuster, Head of Cardiology at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Identifying and treating the risk factors is a crucial first step toward promoting heart health. The first thing to do is try to address the risk factors. “This can entail lifestyle modifications and possibly medications.”
There are some basic principles of living a heart healthy lifestyle. One thing everyone has to do is some moderate exercise, 3-5 days a week, 30 minutes a day. If you are a smoker, you know exactly what you have to do: quit. The approach with weight loss, patients should aim to lose one pound a week.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach for heart health. Every patient is different, and the patient has to know that his or her case is individual. When it comes to making lifestyle modifications, it’s a personal decision, and it’s not easy. It takes commitment to make these changes.
It’s recommended that patients ask their doctors, “I want to be healthy — what do I need to do?” If your results suggest that you need to make a lifestyle modification like losing weight or lowering your cholesterol, then ask, what resources does your office have to support me?
Get informed, reliable online sources are the American Heart Association (heart.org), and The Foundation for Science, Health, and Education (fundacionshe.org).
It’s important to Know the six risk factors that drive the majority of heart disease, they are high blood pressure and cholesterol, obesity, smoking, diabetes, and living a sedentary lifestyle.
Get at least 100 minutes of exercise a week, eat right, and keep any other risk factors in check.

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