The risk of heart disease can be reduced by half for those that simply manage their blood pressure and cholesterol.
High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure, also known as hypertension is a condition where the force of the blood flow within the arteries is actually powerful enough to cause health issues such as heart disease. The term ‘blood pressure’ is descriptive of the amount of blood pumped by the heart, and the resistance of the arteries to the blood flow. – The harder the blood flow, and the narrower the arteries, the higher the blood pressure. This condition increases the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Blood pressure is tested with an inflatable arm cuff at the doctors office. High blood pressure can be treated with medication, but also through a healthy diet, exercise, limiting alcohol consumption, and stress management.
Cholesterol is a substance found in the fats located in the blood stream. It’s a waxy substance which is needed to build healthy cells. However, if the cholesterol levels are too high, fatty deposits actually develop in the blood vessels. This makes blood flow through the arteries more difficult, which prevents the heart from receiving oxygen-tech blood – this increases the risk of heart attack. Similarly, a lack of oxygen-rich blood flow to the brain can cause a stroke. There are no symptoms, the only way to detect high cholesterol is a blood test. High cholesterol can be treated with medication, but it can also be treated with weight loss, quitting smoking, exercise, eating healthfully, elimination of trans fat from the diet, and the consumption of healthy fats.
According to a study conducted by the Medical University of South Carolina, patients which had higher blood pressure (with consistent readings starting at 140/90 mm Hg and above) that only actively treated their cholesterol were able to reduce their risk of heart disease by 20%-35%. However, those that treated both their blood pressure and cholesterol were able to reduce their risks by 50%.