Coronary heart disease: Know your personal risk factors

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the United States, deadlier than all forms of cancer combined. Coronary heart disease (CHD), a result of a buildup of plaque in the arteries, is the most common type of heart disease. Knowing your personal risk of developing CHD can help you prevent the disease from developing. There are some risks you can control and some that you cannot.

What Are Risk Factors?

They are traits, conditions or habits that can make you more likely to develop the disease. Risk factors can also raise the chances that any existing disease will become worse. To protect your heart, it’s best to lower or eliminate as many risk factors as you can, because they can “gang up” and worsen one another’s effects.

Having one risk factor doubles your chances of developing CHD. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking are key risk factors, and nearly half of American Adults have at least one. Having three or more risk factors increases your risk for CHD more than tenfold.

Are Risk Factors Controllable?

You can control some of your risks, but not others. Getting older and having a family history of heart disease are two factors that you cannot change. You do have power over smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and high triglyceride levels.

To reverse these, have your healthcare provider measure your blood cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as determine if your weight is in a healthy range. Changing the pattern can begin with taking a brisk walk or making a meal of homemade vegetable soup.

Lesser-Known Risk Factors

A waist measurement of more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men, and women who carry weight around their waist — those with “apple-shaped” bodies — are at the greatest risk for CHD. Women who smoke and take birth control pills are at high risk, as are people under a lot of stress. Also, untreated sleep apnea — a disorder that causes breaks in breathing while you sleep — can raise your risk for high blood pressure and heart attack.

Diagnosing CHD With an Electrocardiogram

Referred to as an EKG or ECG, an electrocardiogram is a noninvasive test that records the electrical activity of the heart. This can sometimes reveal adverse effects that your risk factors may be causing. It can measure details such as heart rate, rhythm and thickness, as well as evidence of damage to the heart muscle, impaired blood flow and patterns of abnormal electrical activity.

About Dr. Truong

Thomas Truong, DO is a board-certified interventional cardiologist who is fellowship trained in peripheral vascular medicine, cardiology and interventional cardiology. He is a Sparks native and provides care to patients at the Northern Nevada Medical Group (NNMG) clinic in Fallon on most Wednesdays. The Fallon clinic is located at 1020 New River Parkway, Suite 301, in Fallon.

Dr. Truong is accepting new patients at the Fallon location and accepts most area health insurance plans, including Medicare.

If you think you have risk factors for CHD, schedule an appointment with Dr. Truong. Call 775-356-4514. NNMG’s heart promise is to see patients within 24 business hours if requested.

Northern Nevada Medical Group is proudly affiliated with Northern Nevada medical Center, an Accredited Chest Pain Center.

Information is provided for educational purposes only, and is not intended to constitute medical advice or to be relied upon for the treatment of any particular condition. If you have concerns or questions about specific symptoms that may affect your health, please contact your healthcare provider.

Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Northern Nevada Medical Center. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians.

SOURCES: American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


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