Get Your Game Plan Ready to Fight Heart Disease

srinivasan venkatraman
Dr. Srinivasan

In Recognition of American Heart Month, West Penn Allegheny Cardiologists Offer Top 10 Ideas for Lowering Your Risk of Heart Disease 

poornima indu
Dr. Poornima

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, with one American per minute dying as a result of a coronary event.

As American Heart Month begins in February, West Penn Allegheny Health System cardiologists Indu G. Poornima, MD, and Venkatraman Srinivasan, MD, want to spread the word that following simple preventive strategies can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease.

“We know a great deal about the genetic factors and lifestyle factors that put a person at risk for heart disease, and we know that patients can control many of these factors,” said Dr. Srinivasan, Director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at West Penn Hospital.

“Women in particular should be reminded that heart disease is not just a man’s disease,” said Dr. Poornima, Director of the Women’s Heart Center at Allegheny General Hospital  “It is the leading cause of death in women 65 years or older, and one of the top three causes of death in younger women.”

Dr. Poornima and Dr. Srinivasan’s Top 10 Heart Disease Prevention Tactics

  1. Don’t smoke. It greatly increases your heart disease risk.
  2. If you have high blood pressure, take your medication. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, but is a leading cause of heart disease.
  3. Exercise. A 30-minute walk most days of the week will do the trick.
  4. Monitor your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels with regular visits to a physician.
  5. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and limit your consumption of fatty and salty foods.
  6. Keep your weight in check. Losing weight is tough, so keep tabs on the scale and scale back your portions when the number goes up.
  7. For selected individuals, daily aspirin may be a good prevention strategy. Ask your doctor.
  8. Read the labels on foods. Avoid foods with trans fat or high levels of saturated fat.
  9. Find a way to manage your stress. Exercise, meditation, prayer, time with loved ones – whatever works for you.
  10. Limit drinks to less than one a day for women, less than two a day for men.
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