HOW RUSH REALLY FEELS ABOUT SANDRA FLUKE

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Nine Heart Risk Factors

Nine Heart Risk Factors
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A doctor named Salim Yusuf says there are nine risk factors that account for 90% of all heart attacks. And, we can do something about most of them.

The risk factors include:

* Smoking
* Abnormal cholesterol
* Diabetes
* High blood pressure
* Stress
* Abdominal obesity
* Sedentary lifestyle
* Eating too few fruits and vegetables
* Abstaining from alcohol


A report on CBS News.com's WebMD, says the factors are "equal-opportunity killers," all races, sexes and ages of people can fall victim to these same risks. The study included 30,000 people -- half were first heart attack survivors and half were healthy volunteers of similar ages, races and genders of the heart attack victims.

Generally, they found out
* The bigger the waist, the bigger the risk.
* The bigger the cholesterol particles, the bigger the risk.
* Smoking and a bad lipid ratio accounts for 2/3 of heart disease.
* Smoking alone increases heart attack risk 36%.
* Smoking 3 cigarettes a day wipes out the ptotective effect of aspirin.
* Smoking 3 cigarettes a day wipes out 2/3 of the protective effect of cholesterol lowering drugs.
* Stress doubles the risk of a heart attack.
* A good diet (vegetables & fruit), regular exercise and moderate alcohol intake reduce the risk of heart disease.

Of course diabetes and high blood pressure are factors that are harder to control. However, most people can have their hypertension controlled with medication and diabetes can respond well to weight reduction and dietary changes.

Something I cannot emphasize enough is that many people do not know they have hypertension until it is too late, especially if they are relying on a normal BP finding during physical exams or while getting the BP checked at the pharmacy or supermarket. I always had normal, or even low BP until my cardiologist checked it while I was squeezing a grip testing instrument in my extended right hand for about a minute. My BP shot from 120/70 to 140/110!

I had been having chest tightness (unstable angina) on exertion for months. Little did I realize it was caused by my high blood pressure, even when I would walk as little as four blocks, I would get the chest tightness. My cardiologist put me on Meapropolol, Modiuretic and Monopril starting in June. The anginal pain has disappeared and I am able to do all my normal activities, including mowing my very large yard with a walking mower this morning.

So if you are having angina pain and you don't think you have high blood pressure, ask the doctor to take it while you lay on your back, with your right arm extended in the air squeezing a small rubber ball as hard as you can. You may be very surprised!

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