Weatherford Democrat

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March 13, 2013

Start early to prevent heart disease

Early detection, prevention especially important if family history present

(Continued)

Knowing your heart-health numbers is the first step to preventing heart disease; having them checked regularly is equally important. If you have elevated numbers or other signs of heart disease, follow your doctor’s prevention and treatment recommendations to help lower your risk. This may include medications and lifestyle changes, including a more heart-healthy diet and increased aerobic exercise. According to the AHA, if test results show your cholesterol and blood pressure levels are normal, getting a check-up about every three to five years is sufficient, up to age 40. After age 40, the frequency with which your doctor recommends you be screened for disease will depend on your other risk factors.

In addition to knowing your numbers, it is important to know the cardiac services that are available to you in your hometown. Weatherford Regional Medical Center now performs percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) procedures. PCI is often an option for patients with heart disease whose conditions do not require cardiac bypass surgery. Weatherford’s Cardiac Cath Lab team is experienced in providing these advanced cardiac services also referred to as percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA). During a balloon angioplasty procedure, your cardiologist will use a balloon to create a bigger opening in the coronary arteries to increase blood flow in your heart. Your cardiologist may opt for a coronary artery stent to open the blocked area and is left in place to keep the artery open.

Breaking the family pattern

Your heart disease risk is mostly in your hands – regardless of family history – and several lifestyle changes should be maintained for a healthy heart:

• Don’t smoke, and limit alcohol to a moderate amount (no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink for women).

• Eat lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and limit trans and saturated fats, salt, and sugar.

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