Heart Disease - Prevention

What are you doing to prevent heart disease?

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Can heart disease be prevented?

It may take 10 to15 years from the beginning of a plaque formation in a coronary artery to narrow that artery to constrict blood flow.

The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology have developed guidelines so that health care professionals may counsel and treat their patients to decrease the risk of developing heart disease. New attention is being paid to the role of weight reduction, diet, exercise, and the use of cholesterol-lowering medications called statins.

In the past, the goal for statin drugs like atorvastatin, was to lower the blood cholesterol level to a specific number and statins were prescribed for patients with high cholesterol levels or those who had had heart attacks. The new guidelines recommend that more patients may benefit from these statin drugs. Rather than having specific cholesterol numbers as a goal, the new goal is to lower the blood cholesterol level by 50% in high-risk patients and by 30% to 50% in those who are at lower risk to develop heart disease.

In addition to patients with a history of heart attack, transient ischemic attack (TIA), or stroke, statins may be appropriate for patients with high LDL cholesterol levels (the bad cholesterol), those who have type 2 diabetes, and those who have a 10-year risk of heart attack greater than 7.5%. You and your health care professional may estimate risk by using the American Heart Association's CV Risk Calculator.

Preventing heart disease is a lifelong commitment to control blood pressure and diabetes. Now, new opportunities exist to decrease risk even further with these new guidelines. These are also the steps to take to decrease the risk of stroke and peripheral artery disease.

Return to Heart Disease (Coronary Artery Disease)

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