CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE PREVENTION

Topics covered in this section include:

GENERAL / WOMEN / DIABETES / CHILDREN / HEART HEALTHY SUPPLEMENTS:

Dr. Shawl talks about the importance of prevention in Insight On The News

It's All In The Flow
explains the importance of drinking water and regular check-ups.

Cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer, still claiming more lives than any other major cause of death. CVD killed 931,108 Americans in 2001. CVD includes high-blood pressure, coronary heart disease (heart attacks and angina), congestive heart failure, stroke and congenital heart defects. Coronary heart disease is the single largest killer of Americans. The disease continues to devastate women as it accounts for one in five women's deaths. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, about 700,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke. About 500,000 of these are first strokes, and 200,000 are recurrent. Stroke accounted for more than one of every 15 deaths in this country in 2001. Dr. Fayaz Shawl says the body is like a car. To keep the engine running requires periodic check-ups and regular servicing. See me NOW to prevent calling me later

Lowering Your Risk of Heart Disease (Preventative Check-ups)

Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease is important in diagnosing early problems with your heart, brain (stroke) and other conditions. The majority of patients come in to the hospital when they are sick, without any prior warning and often times, when it is too late. Therefore, preventative check-ups are a necessity in order to maintain your body's most vital organs. If you think of your body as if it were a car - maintenance would be a top priority. (After all, you wouldn't want break down on the highway.) We all need to bring our body in for regular checkups or "regular servicing" in order to detect any malfunction. By detecting early problems we can CURE most people with the proper treatment and most importantly lifestyle changes (proper diet, regular exercise, avoiding smoking, etc.)

In the United States, more than 60% of adults are not regularly active and 25% are not active at all. Physical inactivity is an independent risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease, much like high cholesterol and high blood pressure are independent risk factors. The proven benefits of regular exercise are numerous;

- Reduces risk of early death from any cause
- Reduces risk of death from CVD (cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes)
- Reduces risk of developing type II diabetes or "adult" onset diabetes
- Helps control of blood glucose and body weight for diabetes
- Helps control of abnormal lipid levels
- Reduces risk of high blood pressure (hypertension)
- Helps reduce blood pressure in hypertensive people
- Reduces the risk of colon cancer
- Reduces feelings of depression and anxiety
- Helps control weight
- Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints
- Helps reduces pain of arthritis
- Helps reduce low back pain

Exercise can be of great value even if you do it on a regular basis - at least three to four days a week. A 10-minute walk a day will improve your fitness and health a little. A 45-minute brisk walk every day will improve your fitness and health a lot more. If you have cardiovascular disease or you are at high-risk, you should have your doctor recommend the very best possible treatment. The minimum recommended physical exercise and activity is a program that is moderately challenging or difficult, such as walking, biking, and swimming for at least 20-minutes each time. The most beneficial amount of exercise to prevent illnesses, including CVD is a program that is moderately challenging for 6-7 days a week and for 40-60 minutes each time.

In addition, staying active several hours a week, by participating in activities such as yard work, house work, golf, bowling and other similar forms of physical activity will be of great benefit to your overall health.


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Who should come in for a check-up?

  • Men age 40
  • Women (post-menopause)
  • Children whose parents have had cardiovascular disease before the age of 55

In addition to the above risk-factors, the following list is the most important known causes leading to cardiovascular problems, including blockages of the arteries which nourish blood to the heart, brain, kidneys, legs, and other vital organs.

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels (the bad one - LDL)
  • High triglycerides and low HDL
  • Diabetes
  • Family history (genetics)

Consult your doctor for regular checkups and select a preventative plan together. Should you wish to have our team consult with you, contact our office.

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WOMEN

Women and Heart Disease

Heart disease is the world's number one killer. It is responsible for one in every three deaths. It affects women and men with no respect for geography or economics.
While heart disease has decreased in men, heart disease has increased in women. Women may not realize the higher risk for a heart attack or stroke. In fact, heart disease is now the number #1 killer for women in the U.S. That is why it is so important to take action toward maintaining a healthy heart.

Healthcare professionals are now placing greater emphasis on the research and treatment of women and heart disease. According to the American Heart Association new published guidelines (Feb. 2007), cardiovascular disease in women is not just looked at from a short-term perspective but on the women's lifetime heart disease risk. More than 40% of women at age 50 in the U.S. will develop cardiovascular disease during their lifetime. But researchers say the danger is much greater for people who have multiple risk factors for heart disease by age 50.

It is estimated that eight million American women are now living with heart disease; six million have had a heart attack and/or have had chest pain according to updated data regarding women's heart facts. In a recent study, women who were already diagnosed with heart disease were "vastly under-treated" with medication to improve their risk factors. The alarming rise in coronary heart disease among women has provided a "wake-up call" to the cardiovascular field. More women die of heart disease each year than men, yet women receive less modern treatment like angioplasty, bypass surgery, etc. than men.

The first-ever comprehensive lifetime risk assessment for cardiovascular disease highlights the importance of reducing risk early in life to prevent heart and vascular disease later on. Cardiovascular disease events included heart attack, angina, coronary heart disease, stroke, and claudication (peripheral arterial disease). Reducing risk means maintaining a healthy weight, getting plenty of exercise, keeping cholesterol levels and blood pressure under control, and not smoking. In addition to reviewing the general guidelines for heart disease prevention listed on our website, it is particularly important for women to get a screening before it is too late. To discuss your own risk factors, including family history and life habits, schedule an appointment today or call our offices to learn how you can take a pro-active approach in your heart health.

Consult your doctor for regular checkups and select a preventative plan together. Should you wish to have our team consult with you contact our office.

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DIABETES / METABOLIC SYNDROME

The Metabolic Syndrome is a group of risk factors that put a person at high-risk for Cardiovascular Disease.

Metabolic syndrome has become increasingly common around the world. It is estimated that 20% of US adults have it, while 30-40% of adults form Asia and Middle East have this syndrome. If not diagnosed early, the consequences are deadly.

Metabolic syndrome is identified by the presence of three or more of these components.

  • Central obesity as measured by weight circumference. In men, greater than 40 inches and in women greater than 35 inches.
  • Fasting blood triglycerides greater than or equal to 150 mg/dl
  • Blood HDL cholesterol: In men, less than 40 mg/dl - and in women, less than 50 mg/dl
  • Blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/85 mmHG
  • Fasting glucose greater than or equal to 110 mg/dl (diabetes)

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The safest, most effective and preferred way to reduce metabolic syndrome is weight loss and increased physical activity.

  • Routinely monitor body weight (especially the index for central obesity), blood glucose, lipoproteins and blood pressure)
  • Treat individual risk factors (hyperlipiderma, hypertension and high blood glucose) according to established guidelines
  • Carefully choose anti-hypertensive drugs

Consult your doctor if you have metabolic syndrome and select a preventative or treatment plan together. Should you wish to have our team consult with you, contact our office.

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CHILDREN & ADOLESCENTS

Adolescents should come in for a routine checkup, especially if the parents have had cardiovascular disease before the age of 55. High cholesterol in children also plays a big factor in the child's development to a heart-healthy lifestyle. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends the selective screening of children and adolescents, targeting those those who would be at the highest risk of developing high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease later in life. Screening is recommended for children over two years of age and adolescents whose parents or grandparents had cardiovascular disease before the the age of 55. In addition, testing is also advised for children whose parents have cholesterol levels greater than 240 mg/dL. NCEP classifies a high cholesterol as having a total cholesterol of over 200 mg mg/dl or low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) above 130 mg/dl

The initial treatment of high cholesterol involves diet with institutions of the American Heart Association Step 1 diet, which consists of less than 10% of total calories from fat, and less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day. If the lipid goals are not achieved, the Step 2 diet is instituted. At this stage, a dietitian may be helpful in developing good diet strategies. Regular exercise is also recommended.

Consult your doctor if you have metabolic syndrome and select a preventative or treatment plan together. Should you wish to have our team consult with you, contact our office.

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HEART HEALTHY SUPPLEMENTS

Vitamins and herbs are unregulated in the U.S., so a manufacturer can and will say almost anything to get you to buy their products. Many vitamins, herbs and supplements have sold under the pretense if preventing cardiovascular disease. Most methods have not been tested thoroughly by modern medicine.

The most useful or beneficial that have been tested and proved very useful in cardiovascular disease prevention include:

- Niacin (vitamin B-3)
- Folic Acid and vitamins B-6 & B-12
- Omega (n)-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)
- Vitamin E and other Antioxidants (Vitamin C, A, and Selenium)

Consult your doctor if you have metabolic syndrome and select a preventative or treatment plan together. Should you wish to have our team consult with you, contact our office.

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