Heart Attack: Defying the Odds

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro
  • Is the deck stacked against you when it comes to genetics and heart disease? If so, I'm right there with you. However, this isn't a pass to just so "oh well, nothing you can do about it" and proceed to live an unhealthy lifestyle.


    Heart disease and heart attacks are for the most part preventable. Deaths due to coronary heart disease have significantly decreased since 1980.


    Here are 5 steps you can take right now to beat the odds:


    1. Know your numbers


    Go to the free health screenings to have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked. Discuss with your doctor to determine how often more in depth lab work should be completed. Ignorance is not going to help you.

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    For cholesterol, the American Heart Association provides the following recommendations:


    Total cholesterol less than 200
    HDL cholesterol at least > 40, ideally > 60
    LDL cholesterol at least less than 130, ideally less than 100
    Triglycerides less than 150


    The Joint National Committee defines four blood pressure categories.

    Very High Range - Stage 2 Hypertension
    Systolic (top) blood pressure 160 mm Hg or high
    Diastolic (bottom) blood pressure 100 mm Hg or higher
    If in this range you have hypertension (high blood pressure).

    High Range - Stage 1 Hypertension
    Systolic (top) blood pressure 140 - 159 mm Hg
    Diastolic (bottom) blood pressure 90 - 99 mm Hg
    If in this range you have hypertension (high blood pressure).

    Caution Range - Prehypertension
    Systolic (top) blood pressure 120 - 139 mm Hg
    Diastolic (bottom) blood pressure 80 - 89 mm Hg
    Take action!

    Normal Range - Normal
    Systolic (top) blood pressure below 120 mm Hg
    Diastolic (bottom) blood pressure below 80 mm Hg


    2. If you smoke, quit.


    Smoking increases coronary heart disease risk 2 to 4 times. If you stop smoking, your heart attack risk can be decreased 50% within a year.


    3. Don't sit all day.


    Cardiologist Dr. Martha Grogan has been quoted as saying that those who sit most of the day have a heart attack risk about the same as that of a smoker. Australian researchers found more than four hours spent watching tv or working on the computer associated with double the risk of serious heart problems.


    If you have a desk based job, get up at least every 30 minutes. Take a brief walk or stretch. A steps into your regular daily routine as well, such as parking further from the office, opting for the stairs over the elevator, etc.


    4. Exercise regularly.


    Ideally, you want to be physically active three hours each week. This can even be broken down into 10 minutes bouts of exercise. While the goal may be at least 30 minutes most days a week, there are still benefits from squeezing in just a 10 minute bout of exercise.


    5. Get enough sleep.


    Not getting enough sleep may lead to high blood pressure, increased diabetes risk, and weight gain. . .which just sets you up for heart disease and increased risk of a heart attack. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.


    Be sure to sign up for the free e-course "7 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure" at http://lowerbloodpressurewithlisa.com.

Published On: April 21, 2012