Take care of your heart
What Is Coronary Artery Disease?
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), also called Coronary Heart Disease, is a condition in which plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries which prevents oxygen rich blood to be supplied to the heart muscle. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol calcium, and other substances found in the blood. When plaque builds up in the arteries, the condition is called atherosclerosis. Plaque narrows the arteries and reduces blood flow to the heart muscle. Blood clots are more likely to be formed in the arteries. Blood clots can partially or completely block blood flow.
What are the major risk factors you can modify, treat or control
by changing your lifestyle or taking medicine?
- Tobacco smoke - Smokers’ risk of developing coronary heart disease is 2-4 times greater than non-smokers. Cigarette smoking is a powerful independent risk factor for sudden cardiac death in patients with coronary heart disease. However, exposure to smokers increases the risk of heart disease for nonsmokers.
- High blood cholesterol - As blood cholesterol rises, so does risk of coronary heart disease. When other risk factors (such as high blood pressure and tobacco smoke) are present, this risk increases even more. A person’s cholesterol level is also affected by age, sex, heredity and diet. We advise to have a cholesterol check if aged 40 or more, or if you have a strong family history, it is advised to have a check.
- High blood pressure - High blood pressure increases the heart’s workload, causing the heart to thicken and become stiffer. It also increases risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and congestive heart failure. When high blood pressure exists in parallel with obesity, smoking, high blood cholesterol levels or diabetes, the risk of heart attack or troke is higher. Treatment is advised if your blood pressure remains high and regularly check your blood pressure at least every 3-5 days.
- Physical inactivity - An inactive lifestyle is a risk factor for coronary heart disease. Regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity helps prevent heart and blood vessel disease. The more vigorous the activity, the greater the benefits. But, even moderate-intensity activities help if done regularly and long term. Physical activity can help control blood cholesterol, diabetes and obesity, as well as help lower blood pressure in some people. To gain most benefit you should do at least 30 minutes of exercise very often (at least five days a week).
- Obesity and overweight - People who have excess body fat - especially at the waist - are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke even if they have no other risk factors. Excess weight increases the heart’s work. It also raises blood pressure and blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and lowers HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. There is also a risk of developing diabetes. Losing even as few as 10 pounds, can help lower heart disease risk.
- Body Mass Index (BMI) is a relationship between weight and height that is associated with body fat and health risk. The BMI can be used to know your ideal weight.
- Diabetes Mellitus - Diabetes seriously increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Even when glucose (blood sugar) levels are under control, diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, but the risks are even greater if blood sugar is not well controlled. About three-quarters of people with diabetes die of some form of heart or blood vessel disease. If you have diabetes, it’s extremely important to work with your healthcare provider to manage it and control any other risk factors.
- Eat a healthy diet - Briefly this means: At least 5 portions, ideally more , a variety of fruits and vegetables per day. The bulk of most meals should be starch-based foods ( such as cereals, whole grain, bread, potatoes, rice, pasta ), fruits and vegetables. Avoid fatty foods such as fatty meats, cheeses, full – cream milk, oily food like butter ( use low fat spreads) and so on. Include 2 – 3 portions of fish per week, at least one of which should be “oily” If you eat meal, it is best to eat lean meat, or poultry such as chicken. If you do fry, choose a vegetable oil such as sunflower, rapeseed, or olive oil.
- Limit your salt intake - Adults should eat no more than 6g salt a day. This is about a teaspoon of salt. About three quarters of the salt we eat is already in the foods we buy. By simply checking food labels and choosing foods with lower salt options, it can make a big difference. Also, try not to add salt to food at the table.
CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE
Jane and I wanted to thank you so much for the care you and your colleagues took of Jane whist in Mauritius. Everything went well and Prakash did a great job of getting us to your clinic and back over the 6 dialysis days. We had a wonderful holiday and our children and grandchildren plus the other family all enjoyed it enormously.
Best wishes to you all
Andrew and Jane Stewart