Heart Disease Prevention
Preventing Heart Disease by Monitoring Your Health
While the first step in heart disease prevention may be understanding what your risk factors are, the next step is actually knowing whether you have any of these risk factors, especially the ones that you can control, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
People with diabetes have high blood glucose (often called blood sugar). People with high blood sugar often have no symptoms of diabetes, so have your blood sugar checked regularly. Having diabetes raises your chances of getting heart disease. If you have diabetes, your doctor will decide if you need medicine, such as pills or insulin shots. Your doctor can also help you design a healthy eating and exercise plan.
(Click Diabetes Treatment for more information.)
High blood cholesterol can clog your arteries and keep your heart from getting the blood it needs. This can cause a heart attack. Triglycerides are a form of fat in your bloodstream. High levels of triglycerides are linked to heart disease in some people. People with high cholesterol or high triglycerides often have no high cholesterol symptoms, so have your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked (through a lipid panel) at least once every five years. If your triglyceride or cholesterol levels are high, talk to your doctor about what you can do to lower them. You may be able to lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels by eating better (see Low Cholesterol Diet) and exercising more (see Exercise and Cholesterol). Your doctor may prescribe medication to help lower cholesterol as well.
(Click Lowering Cholesterol for more information.)