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Image of nurse.HEART DISEASE IN AMERICA
TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Heart disease is an umbrella term for a number of different diseases that affect the heart. Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the wall of your arteries. A blood pressure reading below 120/80 mmHg is considered normal.

High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher. High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes you heart work too hard, putting you at serious risk for heart disease or stroke.

EVERY 36 SECONDS, AN AMERICAN DIES OF HEART DISEASE.
Sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly and abruptly stops beating. Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when electrical problems in the heart cause a dangerously fast heart rate.
A heart attack is different. It results from damage to the heart muscle caused by blood flow blockage, rather than an electrical problem.

Heart failure does not mean the heart suddenly stops working. “Failure” means that the heart is not able to pump enough blood and oxygen to meet your body’s needs.

Being honest about your risk factors will get you the most realistic assessment and help your doctor develop a plan to lower your risk. Visit your doctor regularly. Nothing replaces a discussion with your doctor or health care provider. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors. Here are some questions you can ask your doctor:

    • What tests should I have, and how often, to monitor my risk factors for developing heart disease and stroke?
    • What do my test results mean?
    • Do I have heart disease?
    • What sort of plan do you recommend for me to lower my risk?
    • Can you help me plan a safe weight loss and exercise program?
    • What are the possible side effects of the medications I’ve been prescribed?

    TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEART HEALTH. HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED.

    • Don’t smoke and avoid second hand smoke.
    • People who smoke are up to 6 times more likely to suffer a heart attack than non-smokers.
    • If you smoke QUIT!
    • Aim for a healthy weight. If you don’t know your ideal weight, ask your doctor. The more overweight you are-the higher your risk for heart disease.
    • Get moving. Make a commitment to be more physically active. Every day, aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity such as taking a brisk walk, raking, dancing, light weight lifting, house cleaning or gardening.
    • Eat for heart health. Choose a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and cholesterol. Be sure to include whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
    • Know your numbers. Ask your doctor to check you blood pressure, cholesterol (total, HDL, LDL, triglycerides), and blood glucose. Work with your doctor to improve any numbers that are not normal.

©2007 St. James Catholic Church, Hopewell, VA