Your heart won’t always tell you when it’s hurting. For example, many people don’t realize that about one in five heart attacks are silent, meaning you feel no symptoms. Similarly, your blood pressure can be high with no signs to warn you, and there are no physical symptoms of high cholesterol. Untreated, either condition can eventually lead to heart attack or stroke. With heart disease remaining the number one killer of women and men in the United States, it’s important to take action to protect your heart – even if you feel fine.
ABCs for Your Heart
Million Hearts, a national initiative that aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes within five years, was developed by the CDC and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It focuses on a short list of priorities – simple ABCs – because they can help reduce heart disease, stroke and related conditions. Each are things you can do to improve your heart health.
This is a medication used to decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke. Based on your individual risk profile that is influenced by your risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, family history etc., your healthcare provider may recommend this medication. Be sure to discuss this with your healthcare provider.
Blood pressure control.
High blood pressure increases your risk for heart attack or stroke more than any other factor. Please get it checked regularly and work to keep it under control with exercise, diet and medications, if needed.
With both “good” and “bad” cholesterol, these numbers can be confusing. Work with your provider to know your numbers and aim for target ranges. This is also something you can manage with exercise, diet and medications, if needed.
Smoking and vaping raises your blood pressure and also causes damage to the blood vessels and thereby increases your risk for heart disease, vascular disease and stroke. Also, understand that vaping does not lower your cardiovascular risk compared to smoking. Your provider can help you with a quitting plan that can help you give up smoking for good.
The good news is that you can take action today to improve your heart health. Follow these ABCs and don’t forget to make regular physical activity and a healthy diet part of your daily life. Your heart – and your cardiologist – will thank you.
Reach out to your provider for more questions.