By: Tamara Weinstein, PT, DPT, MS, CCN
Director of Sales and Continued Education for Health & Nutrition
Your heart health is central to overall good health. Your heart is responsible for pumping nutrient-rich blood throughout your body, it supplies oxygen while removing toxins and waste. As the center of your cardiovascular system, your heart is vitally responsible for just about everything that gives your body life. You are never too old or to too young to begin taking care of your heart.
Some risk factors we are born with and cannot change. We cannot change our genetics, our family history, our race, or our gender; being born male may put you at higher risk. Some risk factors however we can change. We can modify lifestyle choices to support a healthy heart.
Modifiable risk factors include:
- Lack of physical activity
- An unhealthy diet, especially one high in sodium
- Being overweight
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Smoking and tobacco use
What is Blood Pressure?
Your blood pressure number is a result of the amount of pressure your arteries are under as blood pumps away from your heart (systolic BP – top number) and the pressure your arteries are under as blood is pumped back into your heart (diastolic BP – bottom number).
What is Cholesterol?
- Soft, fat-like waxy substance found in the bloodstream and in all your body’s cells
- An important part of a healthy body, used for producing cell membranes and hormones
- Cholesterol cannot dissolve in the blood; it must be transported to and from the cells by carrier proteins called lipoproteins
- Low density lipoprotein, LDL = “bad cholesterol”
- High density lipoprotein, HDL = “good cholesterol”
Where does it come from?
- From your own body. The liver makes its own cholesterol which accounts for about 70% of the body’s total cholesterol
- Food sources account for about 30% of total cholesterol
- Some people inherit genes that may cause their bodies to create excess amounts of cholesterol
Why is LDL cholesterol considered bad?
When too much LDL cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly contribute to the buildup of plaque in the inner walls of the arteries.
Why is HDL cholesterol considered good?
Up to one-fourth of blood cholesterol is carried by high-density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL cholesterol is known as the good cholesterol because a high level of it seems to protect the cardiovascular system. Medical experts think that HDL tends to carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it’s passed from the body. Some experts believe that HDL removes excess cholesterol from plaque in arteries, thus slowing the buildup.
What are triglycerides and how are they related to HDL and LDL?
A triglyceride is a form of fat. It comes from food and is also made in your body. People with high triglyceride levels often have high overall cholesterol, which is high LDL and low HDL cholesterol levels.
What can we do to optimize our health?
There are simple, everyday things you can do to help maintain proper heart health.
Aerobic exercise is one. How much? Ideally, at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week. Examples: Brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, playing tennis and jumping rope. Heart-pumping aerobic exercise is the kind that doctors have in mind when they recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity.
- Don’t smoke
- Maintain a healthy height-to-weight ratio
- Eat a diet rich in colorful fruits, vegetables lean protein and 100% whole grains
- Limit the consumption of total and saturated fat
- Exercise regularly; Aerobic exercise but don’t forget some strength training!
- Get a good night sleep
- Manage stress
- Work with your physician to monitor cholesterol, blood pressure, homocysteine and C-reactive protein levels
- Start a complete nutritional supplementation program designed to help maintain proper cardiovascular health*
- Supplementation may include Heart Health Blood Pressure and Vascular Support, Heart Health Omega3 Fish Oil, Heart Health CoQ10, Heart Health System and Isotonix® Daily Essentials*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.