REDUCING YOUR RISK OF CORONARY ARTERY DISEASEWhat is Coronary Artery Disease?
One of America's biggest public health enemies is coronary artery disease (CAD). It causes reduced blood flow to the heart and can lead to a heart attack.
Coronary artery disease doesn't happen overnight. It is a disease that develops over time.
Smoking, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol are the three biggest risk factors for coronary artery disease.
You can lower your risk of getting this disease by controlling these major risk factors.
Your risk of coronary artery disease relates directly to how long you've smoked and the number of cigarettes you smoke daily.
Do your best to stop smoking - either by tapering off or quitting all at once. Working with a stop-smoking clinic or support group may help. Nicotine replacement therapies, such as gum and the patch, may also be helpful.
If you can quit smoking, your risk of heart attack drops back down close to normal after 3 years.Control High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can wear down the walls of your arteries. This makes it easier for cholesterol to build up.
To lower your risk, exercise and lose weight. This way your heart doesn't have to work so hard to pump blood.
Eating less salt is also helpful. Avoid salty foods, such as lunchmeats, potato chips and many canned foods.
Your doctor may prescribe medication to help reduce high blood pressure. Be sure to take it as directed.Reduce High Blood Cholesterol
High blood cholesterol causes fat to build up in the arteries that lead to your heart. Like clogged drainpipes, your arteries may become partially or totally blocked.
You can control this risk factor by improving your diet. To lower cholesterol, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Rice, pasta, beans, fish and poultry are good choices, too. Limit saturated fats found in red meats, palm oil, eggs and butter.
Exercise helps, too. Bicycle, walk or swim several times a week.How Great is Your Risk?
Any one risk factor greatly increases your chance of getting coronary artery disease. Answer the following questions to find out how great your risk is:
Do you eat a lot of canned, processed or fast foods, such as canned stews or burgers and fries.
Do you smoke?
Are you overweight?
Do you avoid exercise?
Is your blood pressure 140/90 or higher?
The more you answered "yes", the higher your risk? But by reducing your risk factors, you can lower your chance of getting coronary artery disease.Help Yoursel
Make an appointment to have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked. These simple tests take only a few minutes, but they could help add years to your life.