Preventive Ways to Reduce Heart Disease Risk
Led by a multidisciplinary team of highly skilled medical professionals, Loyola Medicine is a leader in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. One in four adults have some form of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States.
While not all heart disease risk factors can be controlled, you can take measures to prevent heart disease by making lifestyle changes. At Loyola, we are proud to work with you to provide the information necessary for you to have a healthy life and reduce your risk of heart disease.
To help prevent coronary artery disease, Loyola helps you understand your risk factors, which may include:
- Cholesterol — High total cholesterol (over 200), high LDL cholesterol (over 100) 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.
- High blood pressure — Top number (systolic BP) above 140 or bottom number (diastolic BP) above 90 is considered high.
- High blood sugar — The risk is especially high when blood sugar is not well controlled.
- Overweight — 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.
- Smoke exposure — 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 your risk.
- Other factors — Stress can cause you to overeat, smoke too much or activate the “fight or flight” response, all of which can affect the heart. Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure, cause heart disease and lead to stroke.
To help with weight management, prevent heart disease and reduce your risk factors, Loyola offers the following prevention guidelines:
- Control blood pressure
- Control cholesterol
- Daily exercise
- Heart-healthy diet, low-fat diet
- Manage stress
- Manage weight
If you are concerned about the possibility of heart disease or if you would like information on how to reduce your risk factors, contact your primary care physician or cardiologist to discuss your concerns. We also invite you to contact the Loyola cardiac risk factor reduction program at 888-LUHS-888 to schedule an appointment with a registered nurse for assistance in making desired lifestyle changes.
Why Choose Loyola for Cardiac Risk Assessment?
Loyola’s multidisciplinary team of doctors collaborates with you and your referring primary care physician to discuss treatment options related to preventive measures, advanced lipid management and acute cardiac conditions needing attention.
In addition, our experts are able to provide assistance to patients seeking a second opinion. Loyola recognizes that you benefit from a team approach, so our cardiologists work closely with your primary care physician and have access to expert cardiac surgeons, neurologists, endocrinologists and other specialists who are leaders in their field to help devise the best treatment plan for you.