Friday, November 9, 2012

Heart disease is the #1 killer

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the #1 killer. The good news is there are many ways you can

make a difference now to avoid putting yourself at risk.

Factors associated with heart disease include:

Smoking: Smoking is the biggest risk factor for and the leading preventable

cause of heart disease.

Exercise: Studies have shown that inactive people are twice as likely to

develop heart disease as those who are more active.

High cholesterol: High cholesterol is not a disease in and of itself, but it

is a factor associated with increased risk for heart disease that can be

easily affected by daily eating habits and exercise.

Excess weight: The more overweight you are, the higher your risk for heart

disease. Excess weight also contributes to other risk factors, including high

blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and high blood sugar.

'Good' and 'Bad' Cholesterol: What's the Difference?

Cholesterol is one of several lipids (blood fats) that combines with proteins

to form packages called lipoproteins that transport fat into the bloodstream.

There are two types of cholesterol:

'Good' cholesterol, or HDLs (high-density lipoproteins): Removes cholesterol

from the blood and therefore prevents it from building up in the body.

'Bad' cholesterol, or LDLs (low-density lipoproteins): Can clog arteries by

leaving fat deposits.

The human body creates all the cholesterol it needs; however, we take in

additional cholesterol from meat, poultry, fish, milk, milk products and egg

yolks - which means we all ingest more cholesterol than we need. This increase

in dietary cholesterol raises blood cholesterol levels in many people,

increasing their risk for heart disease. On the other hand, soluble fibers

found in beans, oats, fruits and vegetables, and regular exercise are thought

to increase the body's level of 'good' cholesterol.

When you go in for your annual physical exam, ask your health care provider

about checking your overall cholesterol level, as well as HDL and LDL levels,

especially if someone in your family has high cholesterol. For all adults, a

desirable total blood cholesterol level is less than 200 mg. Keep in mind that

a total blood cholesterol level of 200 to 239 mg is considered 'borderline


Learn to Reduce Stress!

We all have too much stress in our lives. Don't add to it by letting little things get to you. Learn to:

• Focus on one task at a time - worrying about work yet to be completed only distracts you from carrying out the job at hand.

• Reward yourself for your accomplishments - give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.

• Maintain perspective - don't stress over relatively insignificant events.

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