Prevention and treatment methods for heart disease vary widely. There are three categories of options: lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery. Because this information is so vast, a comprehensive review requires more articles, B-3, B-4 and B-5.
The American Heart Association, says, “Unhealthy behaviors and unhealthy environments have contributed to a tidal wave of risk factors among many Americans.” The CDC reports, “Early intervention is an absolute must to reduce alarming rates of obesity, hypertension, tobacco use, and cholesterol levels.”
Doctors first recommend lifestyle changes no matter what the degree of heart problem severity. They include a low-fat and sodium diet, a minimum 30 minutes of moderate exercise, alcohol intake limitations, and smoking cessation.
Additional lifestyle changes involve controlling other health problems like high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, and diabetes. Exercise and smoke cessation (including second-hand smoke) helps keep cholesterol levels low. Other aids include a heart-healthy diet (your doctor approves), exercise, and smoke cessation.
Usually, following a heart-healthy diet is harder for older adults. Typically, they’re less active and require fewer calories. Therefore, they’re more likely to need more nutrients like calcium and Vitamins B and D.
High blood pressure, dubbed “the silent killer,” increases the risk of developing heart disease. The American Heart Association reports a lower blood pressure “reduces the cases of heart failure by half!”
Blood pressure is calculated using two numbers, systolic and diastolic. The former measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. It’s the first (and highest) figure, written as the top digit in a fraction.
Diastolic reflects the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart is at rest (between beats). It’s a lower number, written as the bottom integer of the aforementioned fraction.
Normal blood pressure fits into a range of numbers from a systolic of 120 or less, and a diastolic of 80 or less. “At-risk” (pre-hypertension) readings are digits of 120 to 139 and a diastolic of 80 to 89. High blood pressure is a numerator of 140 or higher and a denominator of 90 or more.
Recommended limits for alcohol are two or less drinks for men and one or less drink for women. Heavy consumption raises the possibility of heart failure, a condition that worsens over time. However, treatment slows it, helping you feel better and live longer.
More information is continued in the next article, part 7, B-3. Watch for it.