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Front Page » May 2, 2002 » Health and Recreation » Cruising the heart highway
Published 4,912 days ago

Cruising the heart highway

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People don't cruise the "Heart Highway" without encountering a few hazards. Most of the lifestyle hazards can be avoided by following a few simple directions found on road signs.

And when anyone has their diagnostics check-up, it's a good idea to follow up on recommendations like maintaining the right pressure (blood pressure) and lubrication (cholesterol). High Blood Pressure (Hypertension).

Narrow Road Ahead

Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of the arteries. When the pressure is too high, it is called high blood pressure or hypertension. It can cause stroke, heart attacks, and/or kidney disease.

Lifestyle changes and medication therapy can control and may even prevent complications.

Normal blood pressure for adults is less than 140 systolic (upper number) and less than 90 diastolic (lower number).

Ways to help lower high blood pressure are to lose weight, engage in physical activity, limit dietary sodium (salt).

Follow the DASH Diet or Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension to lower your blood pressure.

People should get their blood pressure checked every year.

Cholesterol is a substance produced by the liver and from certain types of food, it is necessary for the production of hormones, vitamin D and bile acid. When cholesterol level is too high, is called hypercholesterolemia.

If uncontrolled, it can lead to atherosclerosis. This fat build up in artery walls, causes narrowing and prevents adequate blood and oxygen flow to the heart.

Desirable cholesterol level for adults is less than 200. Some doctors even suggest lower levels.

To control the cholesterol level, people should eat a diet low in fat, participate in physical activity, maintain a healthy weight.


A smoker's risk of heart disease is more than twice that of a non-smoker.

The younger a person starts smoking, the more likely they will remain a smoker the rest of their life, smoke more heavily than those beginning later in life and die prematurely.


Losing extra pounds is very important to maintaining good heart health. It can help to lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Eat fewer calories than a body burns.

It's alsobest to lose weight slowly. Try to lose 1/2 to 1 pound a week.

"Fad" diets don't work over the long haul because they cannot be followed for life.

Family History or Heredity

Unfortunately, heredity is a risk factor for heart disease that cannot be modified.

Talk to your family doctor about the changes to make to lower your risk of heart disease and take the necessary measures to control high blood cholesterol and/or hypertension.

Eat a diet low in fat

Participate in physical activity on a regular basis. Maintain a healthy weight at all times.

Physical Activity

Physical activity helps people feel and look better, helps lower blood pressure and can reduce the risk of having a heart attack. It will also help a person lose weight. People will have more energy for keeping up with their family when they have regular exercise. Better blood circulation, stronger bones, joints, and muscles will also result.

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May 2, 2002
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