Heart Disease

Before I start posting about specifics of a heart healthy diet, I thought today would be a good day to just give you some general back ground information on heart disease. So here we go…..

Heart disease or cardiovascular disease refers to diseases of the heart and blood vessels. This can include many different diseases such as coronary artery disease, heart defects and arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease. The good thing is there are lots of things we can do to help prevent this disease.

Coronary artery disease (CAD) develops over time due to the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels that carry blood into the heart (coronary arteries). This is very serious and can cause arrythmias, heart attacks or even heart failure.

So how do you know if you are at risk for CAD and can you prevent this from happening?
Know your family history. If heart disease runs in your family make sure your family doctor knows.

Know your numbers. Weight, blood pressure, blood glucose levels and cholesterol can all affect your risk for CAD.

If your risk is high or CAD is suspected your doctor may want to do some further tests such as a stress test or EKG.

Lifestyle modifications can help decrease your risk for CAD, even if you are already at risk. These include:

Stop smoking.

Maintain a healthy weight. You can check to see if your weight is appropriate for your height here: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm

Exercise. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 minutes or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. They also recommend moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits.

Eat a heart healthy diet. This includes lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, nuts, low fat dairy products and healthy oils such as olive or canola oil.

Here is a great heart healthy salmon recipe I think I will try later this week:

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/maple-grilled-salmon-0

More to come on a heart healthy diet later this week!

References and Resources

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/basics/definition/con-20034056Accessed February 3, 2015

http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/ – Accessed February 3, 2015

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/American-Heart-Association-Recommendations-for-Physical-Activity-in-Adults_UCM_307976_Article.jsp – Accessed February 3, 2015

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