What is it?
One in four adults has some form of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States. At Loyola, we arm our patients with knowledge to help prevent heart disease and lead healthier lives. Some heart disease risk factors cannot be controlled, including your age, your family history or your gender.
How is it done?
We examine a number of factors. We will help you to make better choices to improve your chances of avoiding cardiovascular disease.
High blood pressure. A top number (systolic BP) above 140 or bottom number (diastolic BP) above 90 is considered high.
Cholesterol. High total cholesterol (over 200), high LDL cholesterol (over 130) or low HDL cholesterol (under 40 in men and under 50 in women) means higher risk, especially when combined with other factors such as smoking and high blood pressure.
Smoking. Smokers are two to four times more likely to develop coronary artery disease and twice as likely to suffer sudden cardiac death. Exposure to secondhand smoke also increases the risks.
Excess weight. Too much body fat, especially around the waist, increases the heart's workload. It also raises blood pressure and LDL ("bad") cholesterol, while lowering HDL ("good") cholesterol.
Diabetes. The risk is especially high when blood sugar is not well-controlled.
Other factors. Stress can cause you to overeat or smoke too much or activate the “fight or flight” stress hormone, adrenaline, which can affect the heart. Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure, cause heart disease and lead to stroke.
To reduce your risk, follow a well-balanced, low-fat diet; engage in physical activity at least three times a week; manage your stress; control your weight and work with your doctor to control your blood pressure and cholesterol.
The Loyola difference
Loyola is a nationally recognized leader in cardiac care. U.S. News & World Report ranked us 18th in the nation for cardiology and heart surgery in 2012, making this our 10th year in the top 50.
Learn more about our performance outcomes.