Cardiovascular disease risk can be diminished
Where you live and the time of the year affect risk of cardiovascular disease. Living at a high altitude tends to raise blood count, which increases blood pressure and causes more cardiovascular disease. There is also evidence that heart attacks and deaths from heart failure are 26 percent to 35 percent more common in the winter than the summer. This applies to sunny California and freezing South Dakota. The cause is not clear, but being more sedentary, exposed to more viral infections and being at a higher risk of depression may be contributing factors.
The greater an individual person's risk, the more important it is that aggressive approaches at prevention be instituted at a younger age. If family history or physical characteristics suggest a high risk of heart disease, cholesterol levels should be measured at age 20 and blood pressures frequently assessed. If levels are significantly abnormal, treatment to lower blood pressure and cholesterol should be considered. Even if there is no obvious increased risk, initial screening should occur at age 20 and, if everything is normal, every 10 years thereafter until age 50.
The profound impact of stress on the risk of cardiovascular disease also must be considered. The hormonal changes accompanying chronic stress lead to weight gain, elevated cholesterol, rising blood pressure that in turn greatly contributes to heart disease, and strokes.
Learning to be peaceful is just as — or even more important — than exercise, diet, maintaining an ideal weight and smoking cessation.
The more we know about cardiovascular disease, the better. The silent progression requires that we be continuously vigilant and intervene early.
Dr. David Lipschitz is the author of the book "Breaking the Rules of Aging." To find out more about Dr. David Lipschitz and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. More information is available at: www.DrDavidHealth.com
(c)COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM