A: February is American Heart Month. Not just for the holidays that you may celebrate, but also because of the high incidence of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for both men and women, so it is important to take note. Given February’s status as the second month, it is a perfect time to keep you motivated towards succeeding in your efforts of New Year’s resolutions, which often includes measures to stay healthy. Your physician can utilize a calculator that can show you a percentage risk of potential heart disease. This calculator takes into account six specific points that are easily measured. These include, age, gender, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), smoking status and blood pressure. These factors can give you a percent chance of having a cardiovascular event (whether heart related or stroke) in the next 10 years.
Two things that are also very beneficial and have direct impact on both cholesterol and blood pressure include healthy food choices and adequate amounts of exercise within a given week. Your weight is not directly used in this calculator, but keeping a BMI close to 25 is optimal for heart health as well as assisting in keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure well controlled. For more information, good references include the homepages of the American Heart Association and Center for Disease Control.
Information provided by Carin A. Bejarno, A.R.N.P., UnityPoint Grimes, 101 S.E. Destination Drive, 986-4524.