Advice for Heart-Healthy Living
- Follow your doctor-approved exercise program.
- Eat a diet low in fat and high in fish, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
- Get regular medical check-ups and include tests not only for total cholesterol levels but HDL, LDL and triglyceride levels. Normal triglyceride levels range from 50 to 200 mg/dl. Levels of LDL — the body's main protein-cholesterol package — should be below 130 mg/dl. Levels of HDL should be at 55 mg/dl.
- Manage your blood pressure. A healthy blood pressure is 120/70. When the reading is above 140/90, your pressure is elevated. Stay stress-free.
- Find out if you are insulin resistant, particularly if the fat on your body is distributed largely through your mid-section. Follow your doctor's or a nutritionist's suggestions for correcting insulin resistance.
- Stop smoking
- Ask your doctor about magnesium, potassium, folic acid and other supplements to prevent heart disease.
- A new blood test, called CRP (for "C" Reactive Protein) is available through local doctors, for about $20.00. The test can determine if you are at imminent risk for heart attack, despite normal or low cholesterol levels. A positive response to the test indicates that the patient and the doctor must work together to reduce the factors affecting that patient's heart attack risk.