Heart Disease – Know Your ABCs
Heart disease refers to several types of heart conditions that can lead to critical events such as heart attack, stroke or heart failure. Nearly 600,000 Americans die from heart disease each year, which makes it the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. today.
While there is no cure for heart disease, it can usually be prevented or managed. To help reduce your risk of heart disease, practice the ABCDE'S:
- Aspirin Therapy for those who need it
- Aspirin "thins" the blood, which can help to prevent clots from forming. It may also reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.
- Always talk to your doctor before taking aspirin. He or she will help decide the best dose for you.
- Blood Pressure Control
- Over 76.4 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure, which is one of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke
- Work with your doctor to determine ways to lower your blood pressure, such as diet, exercise and/or medication
- Cholesterol Management
- Too much "bad" cholesterol, or LDL can clog arteries, which may lead to heart attack or stroke
- Increase your HDLs, or "good" cholesterol by exercising and eating a healthful diet low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol
- Talk to your doctor to find out if you're at risk for high cholesterol
- Protect your heart with whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats
- Select low sodium or no-salt added foods when possible
- Talk to your doctor to find out what kind of activity is best for you
- Try to do 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day such as walking, biking or gardening
- Smoking Cessation
- Cigarette smoking, and even second hand smoke, greatly increases your risk for heart disease and other chronic health problems
- Quit smoking if you're a smoker
- If you need help quitting, check out HAP's resources on tobacco cessation
If you are a member, be sure to log in to our CareTrack page for more information and resources on heart disease. You can download a home blood pressure tracker or take a quiz to learn your risk for heart attack .