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Road To Heart Health Begins With Simple Questions

Road to heart health begins with simple questions

WHEN it comes to heart disease, we're not only our brother's keeper -- we're our own, too.

One in every 4 U.S. deaths is caused by a heart disease-related issue. In addition, every year more than 700,000 Americans suffer a heart attack, a number that could be lessened by applying some common sense when it comes to your own personal health care.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute suggests you ask your doctor some specific questions to learn more about your risk for heart disease and what to do about it.

º What is your risk for heart disease?

º What is your blood pressure?

º What are your cholesterol numbers?

º Do you need to lose weight for your health?

º What is your blood sugar level, and does it mean you're at risk for diabetes?

º What would be a heart-healthy eating plan that would best suit you?

Statistics show that older adults can be more susceptible to heart problems. Even if you "feel fine," aging can take a natural toll on the heart and blood vessels.

A person's heart cannot beat as fast during physical activity -- or stress -- as when he or she was younger. As you get older, it is especially important to have your blood pressure checked regularly, even if you are "healthy." A person may feel fine, but if not treated, high blood pressure can lead to stroke and other problems with the heart, eyes and kidneys.

Exercise and reducing salt in your diet can also help with proper blood pressure, but medication is often needed to manage high blood pressure and related problems.

Moreover, aging can produce other heart disease-related problems such as a weaker heartbeat or hardening of the arteries, which is why blood pressure goes up with age.

And if you smoke, quit. It's that simple. Smoking adds to heart damage. Even later in life, quitting -- over time -- can lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.

Try to be -- or become -- more physically active. Check with your doctor about the type of activities that would be best for you and aim to get at least 30 minutes of activity on most or all days of the week. It doesn't have to be done all at once. Ten-minute periods will do quite nicely in activities such as brisk walking, dancing, bowling, bicycling or gardening.

Medical personnel say a man's risk of heart disease is increased if his waist measures more than 40 inches; a woman's risk is increased at 35 inches.

Clearly, following a healthy eating plan and being physically active might help you -- and your heart.

Story Credit: http://www.whig.com/20170207/road-to-heart-health-begins-with-simple-questions#