Heart Disease

For many of us, heart disease is perhaps the number one threat in terms of healthy longevity. And the bad news is that often the first attack is fatal.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, causing about 1 in 4 deaths. The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. In the United States, the most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which can lead to heart attack.

The National Health Service says that “Coronary heart disease is the term that describes what happens when your heart’s blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries. Over time, the walls of your arteries can become furred up with fatty deposits. This can be caused by lifestyle factors and other conditions, such as: smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes.”

Now you know well enough if you smoke or have diabetes, but cholesterol and blood pressure need to be measured to know if they’re high.

Cholesterol requires a simple blood test, and if you are at all concerned, then ask your doctor to be tested. Your cholesterol includes HDL (good), LDL (bad) and some smaller components.

For older adults, the figures that are ideal are:
Total Cholesterol should be less than 5 mmol/L
HDL (good) levels should be greater than 1 mmol/L
Non-HDL should be less than 4 mmol/L (includes LDL)
LDL (bad) should be less than 3 mmol/L

Another measure often taken at the same time is of Triglycerides, which should be below 1.7 mmol/L

Blood Pressure: You can ask the doctor to measure your blood pressure, but I bought a low-cost device to measure it myself once a month. It’s easy to use, and gives you a pulse rate as well as the high/low blood pressure readings. Most health authorities recommend now that, whatever your age, you should keep your blood pressure (high/low) below 120/80, although Dr. Greger in “How Not to Die” states that everyone should aim to get down to 110/65, through a combination of diet and exercise.

In Summary, to avoid Heart Disease:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Keep a healthy bodyweight
  • Monitor your blood pressure, and cholesterol level
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet, avoiding excess sugar, salt, caffeine, and animal fat
  • Alcohol in moderation
  • Regular exercise
  • Get quality sleep

Link to my post on “Cholesterol

Link to my post on “Blood Pressure