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healthkeep your heart healthy one beat at a time
Upgrading your lifestyle choices
To get on a healthy track: increase your physical activity, improve your diet, reduce stress and stop, if you smoke, smoking. The benefits are enormous and immediate.
Increasing physical activity helps protect you from heart disease, depression and a many maladies. Target 30 minutes a day, most days during the week, to help prevent heart disease, and 30-90 minutes to lose weight and increase strength and stamina.
Improving your diet can help you reduce your risk for heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes; control your weight; and increase your longevity. Aim for 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day; 6 or more of grains; 2 to 3 of lean protein (including 2 servings of fish a week); 2 to 3 servings of low fat or skim dairy products and a very limited amount of fats and sugars.
Reducing stress may help you avoid risk factors and behaviors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, smoking, physical inactivity and overeating. Try yoga, meditation and exercise.
Stopping smoking can greatly improve your overall health. Although fewer adults now smoke than ever before, about 46 million still struggle with the habit and/or addiction. Today, there are many products and support groups that help people who are ready to quit.
Work with your doctor
There are many over-the-counter and prescription medications that are of enormous benefit to people with a variety of cardiovascular problems – from high cholesterol to angina and irregular heartbeat.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) says, "Medications may be needed to help prevent or control coronary heart disease (CHD), reducing the risk of a first or repeat heart attack. If medications are needed, lifestyle changes still must be undertaken."
Drugs used to treat CHD
Aspirin appears to reduce the risk of another heart attack if you have already had one. It is also helpful for anyone who has had bypass surgery or artery-opening procedures, such as an angioplasty. Aspirin is not approved for heart attack prevention in people without diagnosed heart disease.
Digitalis makes the heart contract harder and slows down fast heart rhythms.
ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors are high blood pressure medications may also be prescribed after a heart attack to help the heart pump blood better. It is used for persons with heart failure, a condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to supply the body's needs.
Beta blocker makes the heart beat less forcefully, so that blood pressure is lowered. It is used for high blood pressure, chest pain and the prevention of repeat heart attacks.
Nitrates (including nitroglycerin) are used to relax blood vessel contraction and ease chest pain.
Calcium channel blocker is a high blood pressure medication that relaxes blood vessels and is also used to ease chest pain.
Diuretic decreases fluid in the body and is used for high blood pressure. Diuretics are sometimes referred to as "water pills."
Blood cholesterol-lowering agent decreases LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
Thrombolytic agents are drugs that break up blood clots and are administered during heart attacks.
Talk to your doctor about how frequently you should have checkups. Generally, you should have them done once a year at an annual checkup, or more often if you have cardiovascular disease, diabetes, elevated cholesterol or high blood pressure.
|Blood Pressure||Less than 120/80|
|Total Cholesterol||Less than 200|
|LDL Cholesterol||Less than 100|
|HDL Cholesterol||More than 40 for men; 50 for women|
|Triglycerides||Less than 150|
|Fasting Blood Glucose||100|
|Body Mass Index||25|
BMI values less than 18.5 are considered underweight. BMI values from 18.5 to 24.9 are healthy.
BMI values from 25 to 30 are considered overweight. This increases the risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
BMI values of 30 or more are considered obese and put you at an even greater risk for cardiovascular disease.
BMI values of 40 or more represent extreme obesity.
If your BMI is greater than or equal to 25 kg/m2, your goal for waist circumference is less than 40 inches if you're a man, and less than 35 inches if you're a woman.
Consult your doctor before beginning any weight loss or exercise program.
Content on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional.
Sears Holdings Corporation makes no representation or warranties, expressed or implied, nor claims responsibility for the results obtained from the use of such information.