5 Questions Everyone with heart disease should answer
Managing heart disease is serious business. While your health care team will develop a treatment plan that works best for you, you can play a key role by knowing some important information related to your heart health.
1. What’s Your Blood Pressure? Many people with heart disease have high blood pressure. When you have heart disease, your doctor may have you check your blood pressure at home. It’s important to know what your blood pressure is so you can make sure it’s not getting too high and alert your doctor if it is.
2. What Are Your Cholesterol Levels? Your doctor can check your cholesterol levels with a simple blood test. A healthy HDL cholesterol level is 40 mg/dL or higher. A healthy LDL cholesterol level is less than 100 mg/dL. If you have heart disease, your doctor may set your LDL cholesterol goal to less than 70 mg/dL.
3. What’s Your Body Mass Index (BMI)? Your BMI gives you an idea of how much body fat you have based on your height and weight. An ideal BMI is less than 25. But even if you are overweight or obese and have heart disease, losing weight can reduce your risk for other serious health issues, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and unhealthy cholesterol levels.
4. What Are You Doing to Manage Stress? Stressful events, especially those that cause you to become very angry, can trigger a heart attack. In addition, you might be turning to unhealthy modes of coping with stress—such as drinking, smoking, or eating too much—that can also take a toll on your heart health. Some healthier ways to manage stress in your life include:
- Joining a stress-management program
- Spending time talking with family or friends
5. How Much Physical Activity Are You Getting? Exercising regularly can boost your heart function. It can also lower your risk for diabetes, increase your HDL cholesterol level, decrease your blood pressure, and help you lose weight. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, most days of the week. The more active you are, the healthier you’ll become.
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