Heart disease is our nation's number one killer of both men and women. About half of the deaths from heart disease are from heart attacks, with at least 250,000 people dying before they reach the hospital.
The cardiovascular community in Southern New Jersey have developed programs to institute clot busting treatment and other appropriate interventions in the most efficient manner possible to save lives from heart attacks. We can decrease mortality by 10-20% if patients get to the hospital in the first 1 to 1.5 hours after symptoms start. Up to 40% of the patients can actually reverse the damage done to their heart.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS?
If you are having a heart attack you will have some or all of these signs:
Pressure, fullness, discomfort or squeezing in your chest that lasts for a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
This discomfort can just remain localized or diffuse in the chest or it may radiate to your shoulders, jaw, neck or arms.
Sweating and discomfort in your chest associated with light-headedness, faintness, nausea or shortness of breath.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU SUSPECT A HEART ATTACK?
Call 911 or an emergency medical number in your area.
If you can get someone to the hospital quicker by driving them yourself (rather than waiting for the ambulance), do it.
Don't drive yourself if you are having the symptoms. Ask someone to drive you to the nearest medical facility.
Before there is an emergency, keep a list of emergency phone numbers next to your phone and with you at all times.
TAKE THESE STEPS NOW.
REMEMBER: Treatment within the first hour of symptoms of a heart attack will not only reduce mortality, but in up to 40% of patients we can reverse the damage to your heart.
CORONARY HEART DISEASE, ARE YOU AT RISK?
Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the number one cause of death in the United States today for women as well as men. Heart disease is the chief cause of death in men by the age of 40 and the chief cause of death in women by the age of 60. It is responsible overall for one in three deaths of women as well as men.
WHAT IS CORONARY HEART DISEASE?
It is a disease of blood vessels of the heart that causes heart attacks. A heart attack happens when an artery becomes blocked, preventing oxygen and sugar from getting to the heart.
WHO DEVELOPS CORONARY HEART DISEASE?
Some people have more “risk factors” for Coronary Heart Disease than others. Risk factors are habits or traits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. Many of those for heart disease can be controlled.
Smoking (stopping decreases risk by 50%)
High Blood Pressure (a 5 point decrease ® decreases risk by >10%)
High Cholesterol (25% decrease ® 50% decrease in Coronary Heart Disease)
Diabetes (high sugar)
Even just one risk factor will increase your chances of developing heart related problems. But the more risk factors you have, the more likely you are to develop coronary heart disease and the more concerned you should be about protecting your heart health.
What can you do? Take control!
The controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease are:
High Blood Pressure
You should see your doctor regularly to have your blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol checked and he or she can help your efforts to quit smoking, lose weight or start an exercise program. By taking an active role in your own heart health, you make a difference. A little prevention can have a big payoff, a longer, healthier, more active life.
Like Ziggy says, “ Go for it. ”
REDUCING HIGH BLOOD CHOLESTEROL
High blood cholesterol is a condition that greatly increases your chances of developing coronary heart disease. Extra cholesterol in the blood settles on the inner walls of the arteries which narrows them and allows less blood to pass through to the heart.
TYPES OF CHOLESTEROL AND HEART DISEASE RISK
The higher your total blood cholesterol level, the higher your heart disease risk. For all adults a desirable total blood cholesterol level is less than 200. A level of 240 or above is considered high blood cholesterol. Levels in the “borderline-high” category (200-239) boost the risk of heart disease.
Your level of high density lipoprotein – HDL “good cholesterol” and low density lipoprotein – LDL “bad cholesterol” affects heart disease risk. If your HDL level is less than 35, your risk of heart disease goes up. In contrast, an LDL level below 130 is desirable, while levels of 130-159 are “borderline-high”. An LDL level of 160 or above means you have a high risk of developing coronary artery disease. Lowering of LDL cholesterol is the main goal of treatment.
LOWERING YOUR BLOOD CHOLESTEROL
Reducing your blood cholesterol level can greatly lessen your chances of developing coronary heart disease. For every 1% decrease in cholesterol, you would get a 2% decrease in coronary heart disease risk.
Most people can lower their blood cholesterol by changing their diet, losing excess weight and increasing physical activity. Your physician can assist you and if diet doesn't work, he can provide safe, effective medication to supplement your lifestyle modification (diet-exercise)
So take action – take control – ask your health professional to check your total cholesterol (good and bad) levels every five years.
PREVENTING AND CONTROLLING HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, greatly increases your chances of developing heart attacks and it is the most important risk factor for stroke. Even slightly higher levels double your risk. More than half of Americans will develop high blood pressure at some point in their lives.
WHAT IS HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
It is an excessive amount of pressure exerted on the walls of arteries by the blood going through them. Normal pressure is less than 135 on the top, which is the pressure of the walls during heartbeats, and less than 85 on the bottom, which is that pressure heart beats. Abnormal or high blood pressure would be more than 140 on the top and more than 90 on the bottom. This should be measured on at least two or more occasions to be sure the result is accurate.
WHY IS HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE DANGEROUS?
The higher the pressure on the arteries, the more “wear and tear” they suffer. For thousands of people the first sign of their condition can be a stroke or heart attack. High blood pressure is sometimes called the “silent killer” because most people who have it do not feel sick. That makes it particularly important to have your blood pressure checked.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
TAKE ACTION – TAKE CONTROL
Have your blood pressure checked. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked by your doctor or health care professional. Blood pressure often increases with age and as you get older, you should have it checked on a more regular basis. If you have high blood pressure, it can be controlled with proper treatment. If you do not have high blood pressure now, you can take steps to prevent it from developing. You can help to control and prevent high blood pressure by taking the following steps:
Limit your alcohol use – no more than 1 to 2 drinks per day
Use less salt – don't add at the table and avoid processed foods
Be physically active
Lose weight if you are overweight
Do not smoke
High blood pressure is a killer but it can be treated and controlled. Don't be one of the many Americans who have this life-threatening condition but don't know that they do. GET YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE CHECKED REGULARLY.
Regular physical activity can help reduce your risk of Coronary Heart Disease. Being active helps to take off extra pounds, helps to lower blood pressure, lessens a diabetic's need for medication and can boost the level of “good” HDL cholesterol.
WHAT KIND OF ACTIVITY PROMOTES HEART HEALTH?
Any physical activity is good and can help lower your risk of heart disease. The more vigorous the exercise the more physically fit one will become. This results in more Coronary Heart Disease risk reduction. Whatever the exercise, it should be done briskly for at least 30 minutes 4 to 5 times per week. The keys to success are:
Listen to your body.
SHOULD YOU CONSULT A DOCTOR?
Consult your doctor if you:
Have heart trouble or have had a heart attack.
Take medications for high blood pressure or a heart condition.
Are over 45 years old and not used to energetic activity.
Have a family history of developing heart disease
Are not sure how to proceed.
Your doctor will most likely recommend Stress Testing and then give you instructions and a “safe exercise prescription”. Some types of vigorous activity may worsen existing heart problems. Warning signals include sudden dizziness, a cold sweat, paleness, fainting or pain or pressure in your upper body during or just after exercising. If you notice any of these signs, stop the activity and call your doctor immediately.
In addition to decreasing coronary heart disease risk:
Regular physical activity makes you feel better because it:
Helps cope with stress
Improves self image
Increases resistance to fatigue
Helps you relax and feel less tense
Improves your ability to fall asleep and sleep well
Regular physical activity makes you look better because it:
Burns off calories to help you lose weight or help you stay at your desirable weight
Helps control your appetite
SO TAKE ACTION – GET PHYSICAL
EXERCISE AND HEALTH: THE TIME IS NOW
What if I told you that there was a free, relatively easy way you could increase your vitality, help you live longer, and save money on health care? Well there is – exercise!!
The long term benefits of exercise are tremendous!
It conditions the heart muscle so it pumps more efficiently.
It lowers high blood pressure.
It lowers fats in the blood (triglycerides) and increases the “good cholesterol” (HDL).
People who exercise tend to stop smoking and begin to eat healthier also.
Exercise helps control obesity and contributes to a sense of well-being.
It reduces tension and improves sleep – acting like a natural tranquilizer.
Studies show that exercise also protects against colon cancer and adult-onset diabetes.
Speaking of studies, a recent one involving 13,000 people, followed over 8 years, found that inactive men were 3.4 times more likely to die as those who were active, and inactive women were 4.6 times more likely to die. Lack of exercise is now considered a MAJOR risk of heart disease, regardless of what other risks you have.
Most people under 40 without a medical problem or cardiac risk factors can start an exercise program without a doctor's help. People with a prior medical history, risk factors, or who are over 40 should have a medical evaluation and probably a stress test so the doctor can give them an appropriate exercise prescription. (Now state law mandates that medical insurance cover $300 worth of preventative care, so a routine stress test would be covered if needed.)
Exercise is good for all – the sooner you start, the better.
All exercise is good – many benefits come from low-intensity exercise.
More exercise is better – We recommend the following:
Frequency: 5 to 7 times per week.
Duration: 30 to 60 minutes of sustained activity, depending on intensity.
Intensity: 60 to 90% of maximal heart rate, which is 220 minus your age.
Activity: Jogging, swimming, brisk walking, cycling, aerobic dance and machines like steppers, treadmills, cross country skiing, biking and rowing.
Ask your doctor for an exercise prescription so you can begin as soon as possible!