Read the questions. Then check the answers that follow.
1- If you have diabetes, you should take an aspirin a day.
2- ACE inhibitors can help treat high blood pressure and damaged heart muscles.
3- I already have heart disease. It is too late to reduce my risk for further problems.
4- Activity can improve my blood cholesterol level.
5- Starting medication is the most important part of preventing heart disease.
6- Eating less saturated fat is the best change in my eating habits I can make to lower my blood cholesterol.
7- My last cholesterol level was within my goal. This means I can cut down on my medication.
8- I can’t do anything about my medication’s side effects.
An aspirin a day can help prevent or delay heart and blood vessel problems for many people with diabetes. So ask your health care provider if a low dose of aspirin every day is for you.
ACE inhibitors are often prescribed for people with diabetes who have high blood pressure. They stop the body from making a chemical that narrows blood vessels. They may be prescribed after a heart attack to help the heart pump blood better. They also used for people with heart failure (the heart can’t pump enough blood to supply the body’s needs).
It’s never too late to help your heart. If you already have heart disease, you can reduce your risk for a heart attack by lowering high cholesterol and high blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, not smoking and managing your diabetes. Taking these steps can help you live longer and healthier.
Regular physical activity may reduce problems from heart disease by lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) levels, raising HDL (good cholesterol) levels, lowering blood pressure, lowering triglyceride levels, reducing weight and improving the fitness of your heart and lungs.
Sometimes medications are needed to help prevent or treat heart disease. But improving your eating and activity routine is the first step toward keeping your heart healthy.
Saturated fat raises your blood cholesterol more than anything else you eat. Foods from animals are a source of saturated fat, like fatty cuts of meat, whole-milk dairy products and lard. Some vegetable oils, such as coconut and palm, also contain saturated fat. The best way to reduce your cholesterol level is to choose foods low in saturated fat.
So use low-fat or fat-free dairy foods. Buy lean cuts of meat and don’t eat more than 3- to 4-ounce portions. Use healthier oils, such as canola, soybean or olive. And cut down on butter, margarine and other fatty spreads.
You can control cholesterol and heart disease—not cure it—with healthy eating, activity and medication. If you take heart medication and your blood fats are within your goal, that’s what you want. Don’t lower your dose or stop the medication. They can help you reach and maintain your goal.
Side effects from medications are possible. If side effects occur, report them to your health care provider. Often, a change in the dose or type of medication can help.