August 2014

New Federal Guidelines For Prevention Of Heart Attack

New Federal Guidelines For
Prevention Of Heart Attack


"Each year more than 300,000 persons a year could be prevented from having heart attacks." This was the statement of a special Federal Advisory Committee chaired by Dr. Dewitt S. Goodman, Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York in October, 1987. The committee was empaneled to evaluate ways of decreasing heart attacks among Americans. It ultimately presented a set of guidelines which are designed to guide physicians in their approach to heart attack prevention. Dr. Goodman further stated, "medical practice is going to undergo a major change as a result of this report it will have a large impact on coronary heart disease and the public health."

The report stated that some 25% of all Americans between the ages of 20 and 74 have
elevated blood cholesterol, this is roughly about one out of every four adults. This translates into 40 million men and women who are at increased risk each year for coronary heart disease. These people must be identified as they need evaluation and treatment to protect them and reduce their chances of death from a heart attack.

Each year approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer heart attacks. This results in 500,000 deaths according to the Federal government's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
The panel, convened by this Institute, suggested that dietary treatment should be the cornerstone of any program to reduce blood cholesterol levels. They further suggested that other risks such as: obesity, cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, being male or having a family history of premature heart disease, should be taken into consideration when determining degree of risk and treatment.

The following standard was established for all persons 20 or older. Blood cholesterol levels greater then 240 mg/dl should be considered as High Blood Cholesterol. Blood cholesterol with levels between 200 and 239 will be considered as Borderline High Blood Cholesterol. Levels below 200 were classified as Desirable Blood Cholesterol.

The panel suggested that anyone with borderline blood cholesterol be treated with diet and tested yearly. Those with high blood cholesterol levels are placed on a dietary treatment program including a cardiovascular exercise program and followed closely. Persons with desirable blood cholesterol levels who have no family history of heart disease are nonsmokers and otherwise of low risk should be followed once every five years. Those in between with desirable blood cholesterol levels but do have a family history of heart disease should be followed every two years.

Your cholesterol result is based on the total amount of several different types of cholesterol which together make up Total Blood Cholesterol. The two most important of the cholesterols are HDL cholesterol or High-Density Lipoproteins, the so-called, "good cholesterol" and the LDL cholesterol or Low-Density Lipoproteins, the "bad cholesterol."

The reason for the "good Vs bad" labels are based on the roles these two components of cholesterol play in heart disease. LDL cholesterol has been implicated in the development of heart disease while HDL cholesterol is considered as a preventor of heart disease.

When blood cholesterol levels are taken, we get a result which represents the total amount of HDL and LDL cholesterols. We can also determine the proportion of either LDL or HDL in the total cholesterol which has been found. Studies have shown doctors that as the amount of the LDL fraction raises the risk of coronary heart disease also rises. Concurrently, as the HDL fraction rises the risk of coronary heart disease decreases. LDL cholesterol reaches to levels between 139 and 159 they are classified as "borderline high-risk LDL cholesterols," when LDL levels are greater than 160, the individual has reached a stage of "high-risk LDL cholesterol."

The report suggests that those individuals with elevated cholesterol and especially elevated LDL fraction of cholesterol with two or more other risk factors or indication of heart disease require intensive medical intervention. The committee has suggested that those individuals with elevated cholesterol, elevated LDL cholesterol, or two or more risk factors should be watched carefully and be placed on a dietary therapy program.

The HDL cholesterol is important as well. The higher the HDL fraction, the lower the LDL fraction. A primary goal of prevention of heart attack is directed at actively causing the HDL cholesterol fraction to rise. To do this diet is important but exercise is equally and possibly more important.

The program for heart disease prevention should be individualized and based on a multitude of factors: how high the cholesterol, the levels of the LDL and HDL cholesterol fractions, body weight (need for weight loss), blood pressure, whether a smoker or not, family history, the individual's medical history, life style, alcohol use and exercise pattern. Each of these factors is taken into consideration along with the results of a good physical examination, diagnostic testing and specific laboratory testing of blood and urine.

The physical examination includes a complete medical history, family history, evaluation of the heart and lungs, as well as all major organs (we also evaluate for cancer at the same time.) The laboratory tests include, blood cholesterol, HDL and LDL fractions, electrolytes, liver testing, thyroid testing, blood count, and other indicated tests. Diagnostic testing generally includes Electrocardiogram, Chest X-ray, Respiratory Function Testing (spirometry) and body fat analysis (testing body fat percentage, determining, calorie requirements for ideal body weight, exercise requirements or weight reduction and ideal heart health). A state-of-the-art wellness evaluation program can be administered to round of this unique concept in health care.

A top program for heart attack prevention generally includes a diet that is not only low in cholesterol but one that reduces the body's ability to make cholesterol on its own. For best results this should be coupled with a heart strengthening exercise program (aerobic exercises), eliminating smoking, a weight reduction program and techniques for stress reduction.

The dietary program is created after evaluation of the individuals present diet, likes, dislikes and food preferences. After the diagnostic and laboratory testing is reviewed an individualized dietary program can created especially for you.

An exercise program is created in a like manner by determining present exercise levels, their patients' likes as well as their dislikes, finally a series of progressive stretching and heart strengthening exercises. The heart attack prevention dietary/exercise program must ultimately be based on the findings of the medical/nutritional evaluation. This type of program provides the latest in preventive health and wellness management all aimed at directly reducing your risk factors as much as possible and hence greatly reducing your chance of having a heart attack.

If your cholesterol is elevated, or you have no idea how high it is, but desire to reduce your risk of heart attack, make an appointment with your physician for a complete evaluation. Since most physicians do not work with diet and nutrition let us know and we can provide you with a proven heart attack prevention diet and exercise program.

Here's what you can do about preventing heart disease and lower your cholesterol

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