Blog 2/8/2018

Weekly Clinical Service Dose: 4 Questions of the Heart for Your Doctor

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. The good news?
Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions.  Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices.

4 Questions of the Heart for Your Doctor

How many times have you left the doctor’s office and wished you could run back in with a question?

At your next checkup, be prepared. Write down these questions about your heart health — and any others you may have.

1. What is my risk for heart disease? Your habits and your personal and family health history can provide important clues to your doctor. Talk with your doctor about your age, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking history and exercise habits. Ask what you can do to help lower your risk.

2. Do I have high blood pressure — and how can I control it? High blood pressure can damage your arteries, heart and other organs. But it often has no symptoms. Ask your doctor where you stand.

3. What is my cholesterol level — and how can I keep it in a healthy range? High levels of bad cholesterol (LDL, or low-density lipoprotein) can build up in the inner walls of your arteries — and may increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Diet, exercise and medicine can all play a role in reducing your cholesterol if needed.
Your doctor can explain your other cholesterol numbers too. That includes your total cholesterol, good cholesterol (HDL, or high-density lipoprotein) and triglycerides.

4. How does my blood sugar level affect my heart health? High blood sugar levels may be a sign of diabetes. That can increase the risk of heart disease. Ask your doctor if you should be tested.

*Goal to improve cardiovascular health and quality of life through prevention, detection, and treatment of risk factors for heart attack and stroke; early identification and treatment of heart attacks and strokes; prevention of repeat cardiovascular events; and reduction in deaths from cardiovascular disease.

Source: Murphy SL, Kochanek KD, Xu JQ, Arias E. Mortality in the United States, 2014. NCHS data brief, no 229. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2015.
2Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2016 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2016;133:e38-e360.

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