Keep Your Blood Vessels Healthy

Almost half of U.S. adults ages 20 and older have some form of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death for Americans since 1920. High blood pressure is the most common cardiovascular condition. Other serious diseases affecting the heart or blood vessels include:
Coronary artery disease, which reduces the amount of oxygen 
reaching the heart
  • Coronary artery disease, which reduces the amount of oxygen reaching the heart
  • Peripheral arterial disease, which affects blood flow to the arms and legs
  • Blood clots, which block blood flow and can cause a stroke or heart attack
  • Stroke, which is caused by a blocked or burst blood vessel that cuts off blood supply to the brain
  • Heart attack, which happens when blood flow to the heart gets blocked

You might have a vascular problem if you have:

  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Aches, pains or cramps in the legs while walking or climbing stairs
  • Shortness of breath or extreme tiredness
  • Dizziness or problems seeing, thinking or remembering
  • Weakness or numbness on one side of the face or body

Some people may not have any symptoms of cardiovascular disease until it becomes severe, causing a heart attack or other serious health issue. You should talk with your healthcare provider about your risk even if you don’t have symptoms. Call 911 if you think you or another person could be having a heart attack, stroke or other emergency.

There are many medicines that can help treat vascular problems, including some to reduce plaque buildup or blood clots and treat high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Your provider may recommend surgery to restore blood flow and otherwise treat heart and blood vessel diseases.

Of course, the best way to fight potentially deadly diseases is to prevent them in the first place. Here’s how to protect your heart and blood vessels:

  • Limit or avoid alcohol, don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet that’s low in fat, sodium and added sugar. Focus on fruits and veggies, whole grains, low-fat or nonfat dairy products, and fish.
  • Be physically active. Aim to exercise at least 150 minutes a week at a moderate intensity.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Manage any conditions that can raise your health risks, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.

blood-vessels2GET THE FACTS ON TAVR
Columbus Regional Health is celebrating one year of offering transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). This procedure to replace a diseased aortic valve is noninvasive and safer than traditional open-heart surgery. Talk with your provider or cardiologist to see whether this procedure is right for you.

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