When was the last time you took your blood pressure? If you smoke and are overweight, you may already be at risk for coronary artery disease. It is not something to ignore, so let’s find out what it is, what causes it, and how to reduce your risk.
What Exactly Is CAD?
Our heart needs continuous blood flow to function properly. When that flow is reduced because the arteries carrying that blood to the heart are clogged or narrowed, it is considered a case of coronary artery disease.
Similar to the plaque on teeth which hardens if not removed, another type of plaque that contains cholesterol can be deposited inside the arteries to the point where it begins to build up along the walls of these arteries. Also known as hardening of the arteries, this condition narrows and slows down the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to our heart. When this occurs, it is known as atherosclerosis, and it can lead to angina or to a heart attack.
Reducing Your Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease happens over the long term, and you may not have symptoms until it’s too late. It therefore makes sense to start early by taking stock of your personal risk factors, and then making the changes needed to reduce this risk in any way that you can.
CAD is usually more prevalent in males over the age of 65. If you have a family history of heart disease, this is another major risk factor. Talk with The Bethencourt Group if anyone in your immediate family had heart disease, and request a screening to find out more about the current state of your heart health.
There are many other CAD risk factors you’re able to control by making important lifestyle changes.
The chemicals contained in cigarettes help to narrow your arteries. No one says it’s easy to do, but if you want to live longer, look at the many ways available today to help you stop smoking.
Get Your Blood Pressure Under Control
Your blood pressure controls how much force is exerted to move blood through your arteries. Over time, if a person’s blood pressure is too high, it can damage their arteries and lead to atherosclerosis.
See The Bethencourt Group for regular blood pressure checks, and buy a unit to keep at home so that you can monitor these vitals any time you’d like. If your pressure is too high, especially in the range of 140/90 or above, it’s time to consider taking prescription medication to help lower your blood pressure.
Control Your Stress
We know, this is another item on the list that’s very easy to say. Life isn’t always a picnic, but there are simple ways to lower your overall stress level. Find relaxation techniques that work best for you, and practice them regularly. Stress begets high blood pressure.
Improve Your Diet With Heart Healthy Foods
Reduce your sodium intake, eat more veggies and fruits, avoid processed foods, and include lean protein, fish, and healthy oils into your weekly diet. You may be surprised to find that many of your current favorite foods already fit the bill on this tip!
Lose Some LBs
Make an effort to lose weight. You can accomplish this by eating a more healthy diet and reducing your sugar intake. When you are obese or overweight, it puts extra stress on your heart and the blood vessels, which often leads to heart disease. Losing just up to 10% of your weight can help you not only lower your blood pressure, but may reduce your risk of coronary artery disease.
Moderate aerobic exercise can help with many issues related to CAD, including lowering your blood pressure, strengthening your heart, helping you lose weight, and lowering your bad LDL cholesterol. Consult with The Bethencourt Group about what type of exercise is best for you.
Get Your Blood Sugar Under Control
Those with diabetes are twice as likely to die from coronary heart disease. This one factor alone can help with any weight issues, high LDL cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Enough said.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Too much alcohol is dangerous for both men and women. Drink in moderation. One beverage a day for women, and two for men is optimum.
There are many ways to help reduce your risk for coronary artery disease, and it’s up to you to make the needed changes. Your family and loved ones will thank you.
Contact The Bethencourt Group for a regular check up and screening for heart disease.
As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (657) 241-9440 or request an appointment online today!