I have heart disease. What do I do? Tips for living a heart healthy lifestyle.

As cardiologists, we look at risk factors for the development of coronary artery disease or heart artery blockages. These risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, and family history of heart disease.

On the other hand, if you have had a heart attack, stent or bypass surgery, we look at what got you into this trouble in the first place and try to modify those risk factors as well as we possibly can.

First, and foremost, if you are a smoker you need to quit.  Smoking injures the lining cells of your arteries, called the endothelium, and makes you much more likely to build up cholesterol blockages called plaque. This plaque buildup slowly blocks blood flow of the arteries. To treat the cholesterol that is circulating in your bloodstream, we use medications that can drop levels by 50%.

Second, if your blood pressure is high, it is important to get it under control. There are several lifestyle changes that can help lower your blood pressure:

  1. Weight Loss
  2. Exercising regularly
  3. Eating healthy
  4. Reducing sodium intake
  5. Limiting alcohol intake
  6. Cutting back on caffeine
  7. Reducing stress.

Third, if you are diabetic, get your blood sugar under as much control as you can achieve. Premier Healthcare has two Endocrinologists who can help patients with Diabetes control their blood sugar levels. Visit: http://premierhealthcare.org/specialty.endocrinology.html or call 812.333.5976 today.

Finally, though you can’t choose new parents and therefore change your health history, you can take steps now to effectively reduce your future risk of heart disease. Visit: http://premierhealthcare.org/specialty.cardiology.html or call 812.331.3401 or 812.331.3402 today.

Written by Premier Healthcare Cardiologist, David Blemker, MD, FACC

National Family Health History Day

Today is National Family Health History Day, which just so happens to fall on Thanksgiving! Just as you are spending time getting to know your loved ones and sharing a meal together, you should also take some time to learn about your family’s health history and what sort of genetic predispositions you may share.

Knowing your family’s health history can help you learn about any genetic health risks you or your loved ones may have and what are the best ways to prevent these. To learn more visit: http://www.hhs.gov/familyhistory/index.html