February is Heart Health Month

heart healthHyperlipidemia

There are two types of cholesterol: High-density lipoprotein or HDL, also known as good cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein or LDL, often called bad cholesterol.Bad cholesterol contributes to artery-clogging plaque. Good cholesterol, on the other hand, helps remove plaque and helps protect you from getting heart disease.There are usually no symptoms of high cholesterol. That’s why it is best to get your cholesterol levels checked through a blood test or home kit.

Hypertension

When you have high blood pressure, also called hypertension, the force of blood against the walls of your arteries is high.Without treatment, high blood pressure can damage your arteries, heart, kidneys, and other organs. It can also lead to heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, vision and memory loss, erectile dysfunction, fluid in the lungs, chest pain, circulatory problems, and several other conditions. You may have heard that high blood pressure is called the “silent killer.” That’s because there may be no symptoms.

Management for both hyperlipidemia and hypertension:

Medications and lifestyle changes can help you get hypertension and high cholesterol under control.

Eat healthy: Your meals should be mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, poultry, fish, and nuts while limiting red meat and sugary foods and drinks. Eating a heart-healthy diet can also help you lose weight; even just a small amount of weight loss (like losing 5% of your body weight) can improve your blood pressure.  Limit salt to 2300 mg per day or less, and 1500 mg per day for those who have high blood pressure or are at risk.

Exercise: Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic activity most days of the week. Think brisk walking, bicycling, and swimming.

Quit smoking: No matter how long you’ve been a smoker, you will still have health benefits when you quit.

Avoid secondhand smoke: Even if you don’t smoke, being around it can raise your risk of heart disease.

Limit your alcohol intake: For women, this means no more than one drink per day. For men, it’s no more than two.

For more information see: https://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/index.html