Prevention remains the best medicine in the fight against heart disease. The Shore Medical Center Wellness Program offers a variety of education and outreach programs that teach individuals to reduce risk factors through lifestyle choices in diet, exercise, stress management and smoking cessation.
- Know the Warning Signs
Although you can't change your age or a family history of premature heart disease, you can influence many of the risk factors for heart disease. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly reduces most, including hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.
- Are You at Risk?
Although nothing beats a full screening, self-assessment is often helpful. Take the free Cardiac Risk Assessment Quiz.
Results from any assessment that indicate more than a 15-percent chance of a heart attack in the next 10 years should be addressed with your physician as soon as possible.
Heart Risk Check
You can reduce your risk of heart attack and brain attack (stroke). Start by becoming aware of your risk factors – the personal characteristics and habits that increase your chances of developing heart disease or stroke. Some of them you can’t change or control; some you can by making a few changes in your daily habits. The following factors may increase your risk. Check all boxes in the quiz that apply to you.
You are a woman over 55 years old, OR you’ve passed menopause or had your ovaries removed and are not taking estrogen, OR you are a man over 45 years old
- Family History
Your father or brother under age 55, or your mother or sister under age 65, has had a heart attack, stroke or bypass surgery.
You smoke OR you are exposed to second-hand smoke most every day.
- Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure is higher than 120/80, OR you’ve been told that your blood pressure is too high, OR you don’t know what your blood pressure is. Blood Pressure_________\ ______
- Physical Activity
You get less than a total of 30 minutes of physical activity on most days.
You have diabetes, a fasting blood sugar of 126 mg/dl or higher, OR you have been told you have pre-diabetes, a fasting blood sugar of >100 mg/dl. Blood Sugar:_________\ ________
- Blood Cholesterol Levels
(LIPIDS) Your HDL (High Density Lipo-protein or “good” cholesterol) is less than 50mg/dl or your LDL (Low Density Lipo-protein or “bad” cholesterol) is greater than 130 and you have been identified with having risk factor for heart disease. (An HDL of 60 is considered protective)
Check your Body Mass Index (BMI). A score of 25-29 indicates you are overweight, 30 or greater, obese. BMI:____________
You have a high demand/low control job with sustained high levels of stress. Stress is a normal part of life.
- Medical History
You have coronary heart disease, OR you’ve had a heart attack.
- Metabolic Syndrome
Having at least three of a cluster of symptoms that are listed below places you at risk.
- Central obesity as measured by waist circumference: (Women > 35” waist / Men > 40” waist) Your waist measurement _______________inches (Waist-to-hip ratio greater than .08 is a predictor of high triglycerides and low HDL levels)
- High blood sugar
- High triglycerides, 150mg/dl or higher
- Low HDL (<50mg/dl in women, <40mg/dl in men)
- High Blood Pressure
- Excess Alcohol
A woman should limit her alcohol intake to an occasional drink or two, no more than 2oz. of alcohol per day. (e.g. a glass of wine, one beer or one cocktail)
- Previous Diagnosis
You’ve been told that you have Carotid Artery Disease, or you’ve had a Stroke or TIA, OR you have a disease of the leg arteries, a high red blood cell count or sickle cell anemia.
- Women Only: Post Menoposal
BY 7 OR MORE YEARS You have had a hysterectomy and have had your ovaries removed or you have completed menopause.
- Women Only: Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills combined with regular exposure to cigarette smoke, greatly increases risk of heart attack and stroke, especially after age 35.
If you checked two or more boxes, see a healthcare provider for a complete assessment of your risks!