Eastlake offers state-of-the-art evaluation of coronary risk factors, analysis of cardiovascular risk markers, physical examination, education and individualized recommendations to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. Additional information on nutrition assessment and recommendations for a heart-healthy diet is available to all.
What are the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease that can’t be changed?
Male Sex (Gender)
Heredity (Including Race)
Controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease:
Smokers’ risk of developing coronary heart disease is 2–3 times that of nonsmokers.
Smoking increases blood pressure, decreases exercise tolerance, increases the tendency for blood to clot and decreases HDL (good cholesterol). Smoking also increases the risk of recurrent coronary heart disease after bypass surgery. Smoking is one of the main causes of peripheral arterial disease and an important risk factor for stroke. Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure is a condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems.
Blood pressure levels above 120/80 mmHg but below 140/90 are considered pre-hypertension. A blood pressure level of 140/90 mmHg or higher is considered high blood pressure for most adults.
High blood cholesterol
Many people are able to lower their cholesterol levels by eating a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, exercising, and losing weight if needed.
Some people will need to take medicines prescribed by their doctor to lower their cholesterol in addition to eating a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, exercising, and losing weight if needed.
Having type 2 diabetes increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack or stroke. People with diabetes mellitus are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. You can avoid or delay heart and vascular disease by controlling your other risk factors.
Being overweight or obese
Obesity is mainly caused by taking in more calories than are used up in physical activity and daily life. Obesity is now recognized as a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, which can lead to heart attack. But by losing even as few as 10 pounds, you can lower your heart disease risk.
The American Heart Association/American College of Sports Medicine guidelines on physical activity recommend a minimum of 5 days per week of moderate intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes.
Eastlake offers group “healthy heart classes” and individual diet counseling for heart healthy eating.
The physicians and advanced practice nurses at Eastlake work together to closely monitor each patient’s lipid profile (your cholesterol numbers). Our patients are provided with diet counseling and sometimes cholesterol lowering medication as we strive to have each patient at their “goal” cholesterol numbers as recommended by their cardiologist.
Q: I have heard that red wine can help your heart. Is that so?
A: Drinking moderate amounts of red wine (this means one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women) may lower the risk of cardiovascular events. (One drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1 ounce of liquor.) Still, the American Heart Association does not recommend alcohol as a means of risk reduction.
Q: How can I improve my HDL, or “good cholesterol,” without taking medications?
A: Consuming monounsaturated fats can improve your HDL as well as reduce triglycerides and bad cholesterol (LDL). These include olive oils and other vegetable oils, nuts and avocados. Some foods such as peanuts, green peas, sunflower seeds and corn can also raise HDL. Other important strategies to raise HDL include a regular exercise program, alcohol in moderation and the cessation of smoking. Calcium supplements have also been shown to increase HDL levels.