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Know Your ABCS & Lower Your Risk for Cardio Vascular Disease

By: Inter Valley Health Plan






C is For Cholesterol
When your cholesterol is high, it builds up in the walls of the blood vessels. This makes the vessels narrower. Blood flow decreases. You are then at greater risk for having a heart attack or stroke.

A Mix of Different Fats
Cholesterol is made up of different kinds of fats, or lipids.

HDL (the good cholesterol) moves fat out of the bloodstream and does not block your blood vessels. HDL levels are affected by how much you exercise and what you eat. For most people, the HDL level should be 40 or higher if you’re a man – and 50 or higher if you’re a woman.

LDL (the bad cholesterol) is fat that can stick to your artery walls and block blood flow. LDL levels are most affected by what you eat. The LDL level should be lower than 100.

Triglyceride is a type of fat the body uses to store energy. Too much triglyceride can increase your risk for heart disease. Triglyceride levels should be under 150.

Controlling Cholesterol Levels
If your total cholesterol score is 200 or higher, follow these steps to help lower your total cholesterol level.

Make Healthy Food Choices: Cut back on saturated fats and transfats (hydrogenated fats).

Eat more whole grains and soluble fiber: Oatmeal or oat bran are the kinds of food that lower overall cholesterol.

Get Active: Choose an activity you enjoy like walking, swimming, and riding a bike – 30 minutes a day is ideal.

Quit Smoking: Smoking affects cholesterol levels by dramatically increasing bad cholesterol (LDL), and decreasing good cholesterol (HDL).

Take Medication as Directed: Ask your doctor if you might benefit from a cholesterol-lowering medication.

S Stands for Stop Smoking
Smoking affects your heart, as well as your lungs, increasing your risk for heart disease and stroke. Smoking causes shallow breathing and your lungs fill with smoke.

How Smoking Affects Your Body
Smoking has been linked with many serious illnesses. A few of the negative effects of smoking are listed below.
  • Decreases oxygen level in the blood, causing respiratory issues
  • Raises blood pressure, which increases your risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • Reduces blood flow, which can slow healing and cause wrinkles.
  •  In men, problems with erections.
Stop Smoking with Support
When you decide to quit, come up with a plan that’s right for you. Discuss your game plan to quit smoking with your doctor and report your progress (and challenges). Some medications can help curb your cravings and withdrawal symptoms, while others slowly decrease the level of nicotine your body absorbs. You could join a quit-smoking class that coaches people through the process. Get to know others in a class, and support each other outside of class.

Resources for Help:
American Cancer Association, Guide to Quitting Smoking, www.cancer.org, American Lung Association, Stop Smoking, www.lung.org

Article From Inter Valley Health Plan

 



 


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