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Learn to Beat Heart Disease During February, American Heart Month
Date:2/5/2010

SEATTLE, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Looking for a gift from the heart to give your valentine?  How about the gift of a healthier heart?

There's a lot you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your chances for a longer, healthier life.  Cardiologists from The Polyclinic in Seattle recommend that you first, learn more about some of the risk factors for heart disease.  Then, take steps to minimize those risks over which you have some control, like lifestyle choices and seeing your doctor regularly.

Understand Your Risk of Heart Disease

In the early stages of heart disease, most people don't have any symptoms. Knowing your risks and taking steps to reduce them, can help you avoid heart disease.

Some factors that may increase your risk are:

  • A family history of heart disease or heart attacks
  • Abnormal cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • A lack of regular exercise

You'll find a basic quiz about heart attack risk factors on the National Institutes of Health web site at:  hp2010.nhlbihin.net/atpiii/calculator.asp?usertype=prof.  This is just a tool to help you understand more about your risk of heart disease, so be sure to discuss your results with your physician.

Steps to Reduce Your Risk

"Even if you don't fall into a higher than normal risk for heart disease, it's a good idea to take steps to reduce your risk," says Kier Huehnergarth, MD, a cardiologist at The Polyclinic.  "There are several risk factors of heart disease - and many other diseases - which you can improve through a healthy lifestyle."  These include:

Get enough exercise

According to the American Hearth Association, all healthy adults ages 18-65 should get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five days of the week. Older adults should also get regular exercise, but may want to discuss this with their doctor prior to starting a new exercise program

Eat a healthy diet

A heart-healthy diet includes whole grains, plenty of fruits and vegetables, low saturated fats and fish (preferably fatty fish) at least 2 times per week.

Quit smoking

Cigarette smokers are three to six times more likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers.

See your doctor regularly

With regular exams, your doctor can monitor your cholesterol levels and blood pressure, while looking for other signs that may help prevent heart disease or detect it early.

You should consult a doctor immediately if you notice:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Discomfort in your chest, upper abdomen, neck, jaw or arms with physical exertion, exercise or emotional stress

Cardiology at The Polyclinic

Physicians in The Polyclinic's cardiology department specialize in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all diseases of the heart, coronary arteries and heart valves.  The cardiology department has locations in Seattle at The James Tower on 17th Ave. and at The Polyclinic Northgate on Meridian Ave. N.

The Polyclinic is made up of more than 150 physicians, including internal medicine, family medicine, OB/GYN, pediatrics, and 23 additional medical and surgical specialties.  Since its inception in 1917, The Polyclinic's mission has been to promote the health of its patients through high-quality, comprehensive and personalized care.  For more information, visit www.polyclinic.com.

SOURCE The Polyclinic

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SOURCE The Polyclinic
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