What Is Your Heart Disease IQ?


1- If I already have heart disease, it is too late to reduce my risk for further problems.

T   F

2-The last time my cholesterol level was tested, my health care provider told me it was close to my target. This means I do not have to worry about my cholesterol anymore. It also means I can stop taking my blood cholesterol lowering medicine.

T   F

3- Eating less saturated fat is the best change in eating habits I can make to lower my cholesterol level.

T   F

4- It is possible to avoid all fat in the foods I eat.

T   F

5- If I am overweight, losing weight will help me lower my cholesterol level.

T   F

6- Being physically active can make my heart healthier.

T   F

7- High cholesterol and heart disease are mainly health issues for men.

T   F

8- Lowering my cholesterol by eating healthy, being physically active and taking medicine are the only ways to prevent heart disease.

T   F

Heart Disease IQ Answers

  1. False. Even if you already have heart disease, it’s not too late to prevent further damage to your heart. In fact, studies show that taking action after a first heart attack to prevent a second one is very successful. Lower your cholesterol, lower your weight and blood pressure and become physically active. If you’re a smoker, the most crucial thing to do is to quit. These actions will reduce your risk of further heart problems.
  2. False. To keep your cholesterol level close to your target, you need to continue with the positive steps that got your blood cholesterol down in the first place. And if you take medicine to control your blood cholesterol level, that means continuing to take the medicine. If you don’t, your cholesterol is likely to return to its previous level.
  3. True. The saturated fat you eat raises your blood cholesterol more than any other nutrient in foods. It is found in the greatest amounts in foods from animals, such as fatty cuts of meat, poultry with skin, whole-milk dairy foods (milk, cheese, yogurt), lard and in some vegetable oils, like coconut and palm oils. These are sometimes used in commercial foods, like crackers, cookies and snack foods. Trans-fat is another type of fat that raises blood cholesterol levels. Trans-fats are found in many margarines, vegetable shortening such as Crisco, fried foods like fast-food french fries, store-bought baked goods and packaged cereals. If a product lists “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” or “vegetable shortening” on the label, you know it contains trans-fat. The best way to reduce your blood cholesterol level is to choose foods low in saturated and trans-fat. One way to do this is to get more of your calories from fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products. These foods are naturally low in saturated and trans-fat and total fat.
  4. False. It is nearly impossible to avoid all fat in foods. Plus, your body needs a small amount of fat for a variety of your body’s functions. Keep in mind that not all fat is unhealthy. However, it is true that some fats are better than others. Go light on the saturated and trans-fats and make sure most of the fat you eat is unsaturated. These are healthier for your heart. Look for fats and oils that are unsaturated—either polyunsaturated (safflower, corn, sunflower and soybean oils) or monounsaturated (olive and canola oils). Unsaturated fats help to lower blood cholesterol when they are substituted for saturated fat. However, it’s still important to limit the total amount of fats and oils you eat, since even unsaturated fats are high in calories. One tablespoon of any oil, healthy or not, contains 120 calories.
  5. True. If you are overweight, losing even a little weight can help to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Two key steps to weight loss are to reduce your calorie intake (cutting back on fat will help) and to burn more calories by becoming more physically active.
  6. True. Regular physical activity may reduce problems from heart disease by lowering LDL levels, raising HDL (good cholesterol) levels, lowering blood pressure, lowering triglyceride levels, reducing excess weight and improving the fitness of your heart and lungs. How’s that for getting a lot of results from a few minutes of exercise?
  7. False. High cholesterol and heart disease are as much a concern for women as men. More than half of the 105 million Americans with high blood cholesterol are women. High cholesterol is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease, and heart disease is the number one cause of death among women. It claims one woman’s life about every minute in the United States. That’s more lives than are claimed by the next seven causes of death combined!
  8. False. A high blood cholesterol level is only one of the many risk factors for heart disease. It’s also important to have well controlled blood pressure and blood glucose, and to avoid smoking. These measures are just as important as lowering your blood cholesterol level.

Heart Attack Warning Signs

A heart attack is a frightening event, and you probably don’t want to think about it. But if you learn the signs of a heart attack and what steps to take, you can save a life—maybe your own.

Many people think a heart attack is sudden and intense, like a movie heart attack, where a person clutches their chest and falls over. The truth is that many heart attacks start slowly, as a mild pain or discomfort. If you feel such a symptom, you may not even be sure what’s wrong. Your symptoms may even come and go. Even people who have had a heart attack may not recognize the symptoms of the next attack because the symptoms can feel entirely different. So it is vital that everyone (men and women) learn the warning signs of a heart attack. These include the following:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve pain or discomfort in the center of the chest, which lasts for more than a few minutes, gets worse with physical activity (like walking up the stairs), or goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. This can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. This often comes along with chest discomfort, but it can also occur before chest discomfort.
  • Other symptoms. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.

Learn the signs—but also remember:

Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, you should still get medical attention. Fast action can make all the difference in whether you survive a heart attack and how much damage is done. The sooner the artery can be reopened by medicine or other techniques, the more heart muscle can be saved. Plus, the more likely you are to survive and return to an active lifestyle.

Reviewed by Robert Ehrman, MD

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Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN—an award-winning RD, certified diabetes educator, and past national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is the author of The African American Guide to Living Well With Diabetes, which received the Favorably Reviewed designation from the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and Eating Soulfully and Healthfully with Diabetes.

Dr. Lori Shemek, PhD, CNC, CLC, the best-selling author of “Fire-Up Your Fat Burn! and leading health and weight loss expert, is also known as “The Inflammation Terminator.” She has made it her mission to educate the public on the toxic effects of certain foods and lifestyle choices and how they create inflammation in the body. She is a leading authority on inflammation and its role in weight loss, preventing disease and optimizing health.

Rebecca Bitzer – MS, RD/LD, CEDRD is an award-winning Registered Dietitian, writer, speaker, blogger, and REBEL Dietitian business owner. Rebecca and her team of six Registered Dietitians have counseled thousands of clients struggling with diabetes for over twenty-five years. They work closely with each other along with internists, endocrinologists, therapists, and families.

Maureen Sullivan – RN, CDE has worked for many years as a Registered Nurse, most of them in emergency and trauma services. She is a Certified Emergency Nurse, Certified Diabetes Educator, and the former manager of a hospital stroke program. Maureen’s wealth of knowledge, passion for nursing and education, and ability to engage people makes her an excellent teacher and a captivating lecturer. Recently, Maureen has been concentrating on writing, speaking and teaching, as well as working on her award-winning weekly podcast, “The Health and Humor Show.”

Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN is a nutrition communications specialist, registered dietitian in private practice, social media consultant, speaker, spokesperson and corporate consultant. She is currently the owner of Nutrition Starring YOU, LLC and www.NutritionStarringYOU.com. Lauren strongly believes that we should “Think Healthy, not Skinny”, and “EveryBODY is unique, your diet should be too”. Lauren was co-host of the Family Food Experts Kitchen radio show, available for listening on iHeart Radio and iTunes. Also known as one of the “NutritionBabes”, Lauren co-founded NutritionBabes.com, a popular Health and Wellness website in 2009. NutritionBabes.com was voted one of Healthline’s Top 100 Health Blogs in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Mark Heyman, PhD, CDE is a clinical health psychologist and the director of the Center for Diabetes and Mental Health (CDMH). In addition to treating patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Dr. Heyman provides training for health care providers on how to identify and address the emotional and behavioral aspects of diabetes in their patients. He also works with pharmaceutical and medical device companies to help them understand these issues and incorporate this information into their sales, marketing, and patient education materials. He is particularly interested in empirically supported behavioral interventions that promote behavior change and improve physical and mental health in people with diabetes.

Katie Ferraro, MPH, RD, CDE is a nationally-recognized registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and author with an expertise in nutrition communications and curriculum development. She is the co-author of “Diet Therapy in Advanced Practice Nursing” (McGraw Hill, 2014) and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Nutrition at the University of California San Francisco and University of San Diego’s graduate schools of nursing.

Dr. Beverly S. Adler, PhD, CDE (aka “Dr. Bev”) is a clinical psychologist and certified diabetes educator, author and speaker. She specializes treating the emotional issues of people with diabetes. In her private practice, she provides individual, family and/or group therapy utilizing a cognitive behavior therapy orientation, combined with a spiritual approach. Her goal is to empower her patients to manage their diabetes.

Dr. Bev is the author of two self-help diabetes books. She has written numerous articles which are published in print and online – always focused on diabetes from the emotional perspective. She also speaks to audiences of people living with diabetes, as well as, to audiences of healthcare professionals and diabetes educators. Dr. Bev, herself, has been living successfully with type 1 diabetes for 40+ years.

In August 2016, Dr. Bev was honored to receive the “CDE Entrepreneur of the Year” Award from her Metropolitan NY Association of Diabetes Educators.

Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND is an internationally recognized nutrition and diabetes expert with more than two decades experience. Through writing, speaking and one-on-one coaching, Jill empowers people to grab control of their health. She has worked as both a nutrition counselor and a diabetes educator in the hospital and research settings, and now in private practice in Newport News, VA. Jill is known for her practical approach and caring attitude. Her no-nonsense strategies to eating well include foods that both taste good and are good for you.

Marlene Koch (pronounced ‘cook’) is a nationally recognized nutritionist, popular TV personality and New York Times bestselling author. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science. She is a registered dietitian and one of a select group of dietitians to hold an advanced certificate in Child and Adolescent Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

Marlene has taught professional chefs from the American Culinary Federation the principles of healthy cooking and eating. She has been adjunct Nutrition professor and cooking instructor for Columbus State College and the Columbus State Culinary Academy, and she is a nationally recognized expert in weight loss, diabetes, child and adolescent nutrition, and sugar substitutes.

Marlene has sold over one million cookbooks, and is a regular guest on QVC.

Barbara Ruhs – MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Neighborhood Nutrition LLC, a consulting firm focused on providing solutions to help food companies and supermarkets improve consumer health & wellness. She’s a former supermarket dietitian and has run a successful business for 17 years. A leader in the field of nutrition, her mission is to help people by impacting the way food is produced, marketed and sold. She’s a strong advocate for supermarket dietitians and believes the retail food industry has the greatest potential to impact public health.

Cheryl Orlansky has over 25 years of experience in health promotion and chronic disease prevention and management. Her first career as a registered dental hygienist led her towards a path of wellness and nutrition! Her expertise is in diabetes, weight management and cardiovascular disease for individuals and groups. She works in a large private practice including endocrinology, internal medicine, rheumatology, neurology and sleep medicine. She is an award winning dietitian with current leadership positions in state and local dietetics organizations.

She has been interviewed and quoted in media outlets for WebMD, Atlanta Sports and Fitness, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. She has partnered with V-103 Radio to lead supermarket tours as part of a community outreach during National Nutrition Month.

Cheryl helps her clients reach balance through lifestyle choices: cooking and eating, activity and purpose in life.

Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and classically-trained chef. With a passion for helping people (including her father) with diabetes, she’s author of The With or Without Meat Cookbook: The Flexible Approach to Flavorful Diabetes Cooking and the award-winning The All‐Natural Diabetes Cookbook, both published by the American Diabetes Association. Jackie is also author of 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes and Big Green Cookbook. Her next book, The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook—2nd Edition, was published in 2015.

Nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH is the author of the best-selling book, The One One One Diet. She holds a master’s degree in public health nutrition from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and is also a Wellcoaches Certified Health and Wellness Coach endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

OmnichannelHealth Media, publisher of DiabetesDigest.com, does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.