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Q: How can I reduce my risk for cardiovascular disease?

Posted February 05, 2014 in Adel, Advice Column

A: February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is a major problem in this country and is the No. 1 killer in women, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. It is estimated that cardiovascular disease costs the United States $312.6 billion each year. The good news is this disease is preventable and controllable with a proper diet, exercise and medication.

In November of 2013, the American Heart Association, along with the American College of Cardiology, introduced new guidelines for cholesterol treatment as well as a new risk calculate to estimate the risk of cardiovascular disease in a person in the next 10 years. This calculator then determines the “statin” therapy to be used for prevention. Drug therapy with a “statin” medication is used to help lower LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol.

Along with drug therapy, adherence to a heart healthy diet is key. This includes eating vegetables, fruits, whole grain, low-fat dairy, fish, poultry and avoiding red meat. Limit sodium intake to less than 2,400 mg per day, which equals about one teaspoon of table salt. Further reduction to less than 1,500 mg is recommended for those with high blood pressure. Exercise is also important, and aerobic activity should occur three to four times a week for 40 minutes. As always, avoid tobacco.

If you follow these steps of eating healthy, exercising and adhering to proper drug therapy when prescribed, you can significantly reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Information provided by Jane Clausen, Adel Health Mart, 113 N. Ninth St., 993-3644.

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