New York Physician Marina Gafanovich Wants You to Learn More about Preventing Heart Disease
Being aware how to take care of your health especially in preventing heart diseases is relevant to everyone, but those who have been diagnosed with any kind of coronary artery disease need to be doubly cautious and aware of the treatment options. Patients diagnosed with diabetes are also at risk for heart diseases. In this article we shall list the risk factors and recommended treatment and life style changes to prevent these risk factors leading to heart diseases.
In the past 30 years most doctors would send patients in the initial stages of stable coronary artery disease for a preventative treatment including a surgical procedure involving the insertion of a coronary stent. A procedure required for patients in whom the disease progresses to what is diagnosed as one of the acute coronary syndromes, to prevent heart attacks and reduce the risk of death.
Today doctors are returning to a more conservative approach to prevention including prescribing heart medication, teaching how to reduce risk factors, and which changes in your life style are needed to keep your heart healthy and functioning at an optimal level. These non-invasive treatments prescribed by your doctor are aimed at reducing the risk for a number of different heart diseases and cardiovascular events.
The doctor may prescribe medications as statins for the prevention of a disease called angina. Angina, which is an ischemic heart disease, is diagnosed when the patient has arterial inflammation in any of the arteries and dysfunction in the endothelial layer that lines the heart and blood vessels used to regulate and transport crucial blood components.
Risk factors: To reduce the chance of reaching this state of dysfunction of the heart and vascular system the doctor will prescribe therapeutic lifestyle changes in an effort to normalize the major risk factors. These risk factors include: dyslipidemia (high cholesterol), hypertension (high blood pressure), cigarette smoking, and lack of exercise, a poor diet, obesity (being overweight) and hyperglycemia (high sugar in the blood), vitamin D deficiency, psychosocial stress.
Let’s take a look at each risk factor to see what can be done:
- Dyslipidemia which is high cholesterol in the blood can be due to genetics, an unbalanced diet and lack of activity. The doctor may prescribe medication as statins, depending on the level of cholesterol in your blood count.
- A poor diet includes eating processed foods high in calories and low in nutrition value. You can take matters in your own hands by changing your diet, refraining from greasy, deep fried foods and eating more fruit and vegetables and less red meat, more beneficial fats as omega-3 in fish, low-fat dairy products and nuts. In addition you can have one alcohol drink a day. This healthy diet will lower your risk for coronary heart diseases and your risk having a heart attack.
- Lack of exercise. You can choose the type of physical activity or exercise training that most appeals to you and suits your lifestyle, whether it is taking a daily brisk walk perhaps to or from work, jogging or joining a gym for a weekly workout. Regularly exercise improves cardiovascular risk factors and is important for those who have been diagnosed with any kind of coronary artery disease for cardiac rehabilitation.
- Hypertension which is high blood pressure can be treated with prescribed medication. The doctors will choose from the different existing drugs which is the best treatment for you. If you are a patient diagnosed with diabetes you are also prone to hypertension because of the excess activity in you body systems.
- Smoking. People who smoke one pack of cigarettes a day have twice the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Cigarette smoking, drug and alcohol abuse are all bad habits which can lead to many diseases among them heart diseases. Stopping the habit may be difficult but studies show within 1- 11/2 years after you stop smoking most of the cardiovascular risk disappears, by 3-5 years the risk is the same as non-smokers. There are medications as nicotine gum, inhalers, or patches that can help keeping you from going back to smoking.
- Obesity overweight especially around the belly can cause serious physical abnormalities, such as insulin resistance or imbalance, high blood pressure and diabetes as a result of disrupting the normal hormonal balance. The larger your waist circumference is, the greater your risk for serious cardiovascular events. An ideal waist circumference is less than half of your height
- Vitamin D deficiency, can lead to hypertension, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart failure and chronic vascular inflammation. To prevent these the doctor can prescribe you with vitamin D supplements and you can also spend 10 minutes in the sun at midday.
- Psychosocial stress. Although emotions originate from the brain, they resonate strongly and immediately with the heart and cardiovascular system. Research shows a happy and socially connected heart is generally healthier than a heart burdened by depression, loneliness, anger, or anxiety. Pathologic depression, social isolation, cynical distrust, hostility, pessimism, and a sense of hopelessness have each been linked to adverse cardiovascular events. Social connection, exercise, optimism, humor, altruism, animal companionship, and involvement in organized religion will all lower your stress levels and reduce your risk for cardiovascular events.
When you follow this therapy of applying lifestyle changes you can reduce your state of inflammation in any of the arteries and restore the proper functioning of the endothelial layer of the heart and blood vessels. This in turn will dramatically decrease your risk of having any cardiovascular event and your need for surgical procedures to increase the blood circulation.
Preventative screening: Atherosclerosis, a thickening and loss of elasticity of the walls of arteries typically develops, progresses, for years in a silent fashion in your body. However, when it finally reveals itself, it often does so as a life-threatening catastrophe, such as sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack or stroke. This often occurs in patients who previously would have been classified as at low or intermediate risk for these life-threatening heart events. The preventative screening for atherosclerosis is recommended for patients at risk for coronary heart diseases, middle-aged who have not yet showed symptoms of heart disease. This screening is done with either a CT (computed tomography) or ultrasound can diagnose blockage, aneurysm, and other life threatening vascular diseases.
Another preventative therapy used mainly for men over 45 to protect from heart attack and women over 55 to protect against stoke is aspirin. The recommended prescription is a daily low dose of aspirin since a high dose can lead to bleeding and other complications. Your doctor will decide if you are the proper candidate for this preventative therapy of daily aspirin, and you should not decide to take daily aspirin on your own. For diabetes patients with evidence of atherosclerosis vascular disease or an increased cardiovascular risk the doctor may also prescribe a daily low dose of aspirin.
Call 212-249-6218 to schedule your visit to Dr Gafanovich or make an appointment online.