Obesity Unhealthy Diet And Physical Inactivity
Compared to those at a normal weight, people with overweight or obesity are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke and their risk factors, including high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, and type 2 diabetes. In the United States, nearly 74% of adults have overweight or obesity.
A healthy diet can reduce a persons chances of getting heart disease. A healthy diet emphasizes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean proteins and limits saturated and trans fat, added sugars, and sodium.
Physical inactivity can also lead to heart diseaseeven for people who have no other risk factors. It can increase the chance of other risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. Only 24% of adults and 16.5% of high school students meet the guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.
CDCs Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity develops and shares proven approaches that make healthy living easier for everyone, which can help people reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke. For example, the division works with hospitals to support breastfeeding moms, early care and education centers to promote healthy eating standards, and workplaces to change policies so that employees have more healthy food choices.
Benefits For Your Heart
Being active helps keep your heart and blood vessels healthy in many ways. It can:
- Raise “good” cholesterol levels.
- Help you lose weight or stay at a healthy weight.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Control blood sugar.
Regular activity might also help your heart if you do have a heart attack. It may increase the number of smaller blood vessels that connect different coronary arteries. These are called collateral blood vessels. If one of the major coronary arteries is suddenly blocked, these collateral blood vessels serve as an alternate route to supply blood to the portion of the heart muscle that is threatened by a heart attack.
If You Drink Do It In Moderation
Drinking a little alcohol, such as an average of one per day, is okay. Once you start drinking more than two drinks per day, your risk goes up very sharply.
Your goal: Don’t drink alcohol or do it in moderation.
How to achieve it:
- Have no more than one glass of alcohol a day.
- Consider red wine as your first choice, which some studies suggest might help prevent heart disease and stroke.
- Watch your portion sizes. A standard-sized drink is a 5-ounce glass of wine, 12-ounce beer, or 1.5-ounce glass of hard liquor.
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Preventing 1 Million Heart Attacks And Strokes
Middle-aged adults are being hard hit
About 16 million heart attacks, strokes, and related heart-threatening events* could happen by 2022.
1 in 3 of these life-changing cardiovascular events happened in adults 35-64 years old in 2016.
80% of premature heart disease and strokes are preventable.
Heart attacks and strokes can be catastrophic, life-changing events that are all too common. Heart disease and stroke are preventable, yet they remain leading causes of death, disability, and healthcare spending in the US. Alarmingly, many of these events happen to adults ages 35-64over 800,000 in 2016. Million Hearts® is a national initiative with a network of partners focused on preventing one million heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events by 2022. Coordinated actions by public health and healthcare professionals, communities, and healthcare systems can and will keep people healthy, optimize care, and improve outcomes within priority populations.
Healthcare professionals and systems can:
* Deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits due to heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions like heart failure that could be prevented if Million Hearts 2022 actions are taken.
Adults who are physically inactive.
Short Repeated Bouts Of Restricted Circulation Using A Blood Pressure Cuff May Be Beneficial To Ones Health
The majority of heart attacks and strokes worldwide are ischemic, meaning that a clot or accumulation of plaque in an artery stops oxygen-rich blood from getting to the cells in the heart or brain. When blocked for too long, tissues die.
But an increasing number of studies suggest that brief, repeated periods of reduced circulation using a blood pressure cuff may help minimize tissue damage and avoid the worst consequences of heart attacks and strokes, similar to how exercising helps muscles adapt to more rigorous workouts. According to the research, the straightforward, noninvasive surgery may improve heart and vascular function, slightly decrease blood pressure, and lessen the workload of the heart.
In a recent review study that was published in the Journal of Physiology, James Lang, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University, compiled the results of roughly 100 studies, some of which were his own. He said that remote ischemic preconditioning typically comprises five minutes of high pressure on a persons arm followed by five minutes of relaxation, repeated three to four times.
A study participant sits in James Langs lab at Iowa State during a microvascular test. Credit: James Lang/Iowa State University
Filling the gap
Since then, researchers like Lang have been working to fill the gap between animal research and big clinical trials.
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High Blood Pressure And High Cholesterol
High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke because it damages the lining of the arteries, making them more susceptible to the buildup of plaque, which narrows the arteries leading to the heart and brain. About 116 million US adults have high blood pressure, defined as 130/80 mm Hg or higher. Only about 1 in 4 of these people have their high blood pressure under control. About 7 in 10 people who have a first heart attack and 8 in 10 people who have a first stroke have high blood pressure.
Eating too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure. Americans aged 2 years or older consume an average of about 3,400 mg of sodium each day, well over the 2,300 mg recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. More than 70% of the sodium Americans consume is added outside the home , not added as salt at the table or during home cooking.
High LDL cholesterol can double a persons risk of heart disease. Thats because excess cholesterol can build up in the walls of arteries and limit blood flow to a persons heart, brain, kidneys, other organs, and legs. Although nearly 86 million US adults could benefit from taking medicine to manage their high LDL cholesterol, only about half are doing so.
People can improve their blood pressure and cholesterol levels by eating a healthy diet that is low in sodium, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, and taking medicines as recommended.
Should You Take A Statin To Prevent A Heart Attack Or Stroke
New guidelines may expand female candidates for these cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Statins are potent cholesterol-lowering drugs. However, they also have other effects that protect against heart attack and stroke. For that reason, new Guidelines released November 12 from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have broadened recommendations for use of these medicines. Cholesterol levels no longer are the main factor. As a result, if you’re not taking a statin drug now, you may be advised to start.
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- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
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You Can Reverse Most Diabetes Prediabetes And Insulin Resistance
Really. The CDC, ADA, and many professional bodies say that diabetes, prediabetes, insulin resistance may be chronic but reversible.
If you read The Obesity Code, the books author Jason Fung talked about patients that were overweight and were able to reverse their diabetes.
For those of us whose insulin resistance is caused by too much weight, the simplest thing to do is to shed some weight. In fact, even losing a few pounds can already go a long way.
Indeed, it is possible to reverse diabetes, prediabetes, insulin resistance. Ive reversed mine. Many of my patients were also successful.
But I didnt say things would be easy. Its just going to take some work.
Fact: Once Your Doctor Decides That Daily Use Of Aspirin Is For You Safe Use Depends On Following Your Doctor’s Directions
There are no directions on the label for using aspirin to reduce the risk of heart attack or clot-related stroke. You may rely on your health professional to provide the correct information on dose and directions for use. Using aspirin correctly gives you the best chance of getting the greatest benefits with the fewest unwanted side effects. Discuss with your health professional the different forms of aspirin products that might be best suited for you.
Aspirin has been shown to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients who have cardiovascular disease or who have already had a heart attack or stroke, but not all over-the-counter pain and fever reducers do that. Even though the directions on the aspirin label do not apply to this use of aspirin, you still need to read the label to confirm that the product you buy and use contains aspirin at the correct dose. Check the Drug Facts label for “active ingredients: aspirin” or “acetylsalicylic acid” at the dose that your health professional has prescribed.
Remember, if you are using aspirin everyday for weeks, months or years to prevent a heart attack, stroke, or for any use not listed on the label without the guidance from your health professional you could be doing your body more harm than good.
Getting To One Million
Everyone can take small steps to improve their own health, the health of their families and loved ones, patients, communities, and the heart health of our nation. We have to act now.
Small changes in every state will have a big impact.
One million events could be prevented by 2022 if every state reduced these life-changing events by 6%.
While rates are higher in the Southeast and Midwest, small changes to improve heart health are needed in all states.
How Does Aspirin Work To Prevent A Heart Attack Or Stroke
Aspirin slows the bloods clotting action by reducing the clumping of platelets. Platelets are cells that clump together and help to form blood clots. Aspirin keeps platelets from clumping together, thus helping to prevent or reduce blood clots.
During a heart attack, blood clots form in an already-narrowed artery and block the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle . When taken during a heart attack, aspirin slows clotting and decreases the size of the forming blood clot. Taken daily, aspirins anti-clotting action helps prevent a first or second heart attack.
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Putting It All Together
You can help prevent heart disease by doing five key things and making them into habits:
Strong studies make it possible to link reductions in risk to these habits. Following a healthy lifestyle may prevent over 80% of cases of coronary artery disease, 50% of ischemic strokes, 80% of sudden cardiac deaths, and 72% of premature deaths related to heart disease. In other words, a healthy lifestyle is a good investment in a longer, healthier life.
Am I At Risk For Stroke
The number one risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. High blood pressure has no signs or symptoms, so its important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.
Ask your doctor how often you need to get your blood pressure checked. You can also ask whether measuring your blood pressure at home is right for you.
Other risk factors for stroke include:
- An irregular heartbeat
- High cholesterol
You are at higher risk of having a stroke as you get older. You may also be more at risk if someone in your family has had a stroke. Make sure you know your familys medical history and share it with your doctor.
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Have Someone Call An Ambulance
If others are around, tell them to stay with you until emergency medical services workers arrive. Calling 911 is usually the fastest way to get emergency care, as opposed to asking someone to drive you to a hospital in their car. EMS workers are trained to revive people experiencing heart attacks and can also transport you to the hospital for rapid care.
If youre in a public space such as a store, school, library, or workplace, theres a good chance theres a defibrillator on hand.
A defibrillator is the kind of device EMS workers use to revive people who are experiencing heart attacks. If youre still conscious at the onset of your heart attack, instruct someone nearby to find the closest defibrillator. Defibrillators come with easy-to-use instructions, so its possible for a non-EMS worker to revive you if the heart attack strikes.
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Stroke Prevention Can Start Today Protect Yourself And Avoid Stroke Regardless Of Your Age Or Family History
What can you do to prevent stroke? Age makes us more susceptible to having a stroke, as does having a mother, father, or other close relative who has had a stroke.
You can’t reverse the years or change your family history, but there are many other stroke risk factors that you can controlprovided that you’re aware of them. Knowledge is power. If you know that a particular risk factor is sabotaging your health and predisposing you to a higher risk of stroke, you can take steps to alleviate the effects of that risk.
What Do I Ask The Doctor
When you visit the doctor, it helps to have questions written down ahead of time. You can also ask a family member or close friend to go with you to take notes.
Print this list of questions and take it to your next appointment.
- Am I at high risk for heart attack and stroke?
- What do my cholesterol numbers mean?
- What do my blood pressure numbers mean?
- Do you recommend that I take a statin to help reduce my risk for heart attack and stroke? Why or why not?
- What are the possible dangers or side effects of taking statins?
- Can you give me some information about statins to take home with me?
- What else can I do to lower my risk of heart attack and stroke?
If your doctor recommends that you take a statin, you might want to ask these questions, too.
- How often will I take the medicine?
- Will I need to take the medicine for the rest of my life?
- Could statins cause problems with any other medicines I take?
- How will I know if the medicine is working?
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Million Hearts: Everyone Can Make Small Changes That Matter
The solution to this crisis is already in front of us. Small changes sustained over time will result in big improvements to the heart health of our nation. Everyone can take action.
Million Hearts® is working with more than 120 partners, all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and 20 federal agencies to:
Keep people healthy by making changes to environments in which people live, learn, work, and play to make it easier to make healthy choices.
HOW: Achieve a 20% reduction in sodium intake, tobacco use, and physical inactivity.
Communities making physical activity easier by creating walking and biking trails.
People adding 10 minutes of physical activity a daylike walking or gardening.
Optimize care so that those at risk for cardiovascular disease get services and skills needed to reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
- HOW: Achieve 80% performance in the ABCS, and 70% participation in cardiac rehabilitation.
- Insurers providing coverage for home blood pressure monitors.
- Clinicians using a standard treatment protocol for high blood pressure, cholesterol management, and tobacco cessation.
Improve outcomes for priority populations who suffer more from cardiovascular disease and where we know we can make an impact.
- HOW: Employers providing places and time for employees to walk during the workday.
- Behavioral health providers receiving training in smoking cessation and using it in their practice.
Weve already begun.
Keeping People Healthy.
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What Are Clinical Trials For Diabetes Heart Disease And Stroke
Clinical trialsand other types of clinical studiesare part of medical research and involve people like you. When you volunteer to take part in a clinical study, you help doctors and researchers learn more about disease and improve health care for people in the future.
Researchers are studying many aspects of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, such as
- risk factors for heart disease and stroke in specific populations, such as Black Americans with diabetes
- improved imaging techniques and tests to help diagnose and treat conditions that lead to heart attacks and stroke
- the role of genetics in diabetes, heart disease, and stroke