Common Misconceptions about Cholesterol

Your cholesterol levels can have a major impact on your health. Since cholesterol can be both good and bad, it is important to know the facts about cholesterol. This article addresses some of the common misconceptions about cholesterol and arms you with the facts. Understanding the truth about cholesterol allows you to be aware of the steps you can take to maintain or better your cardiovascular health.

Learn more facts about cholesterol.

Good vs. Bad Cholesterol

What is “good” cholesterol? How does it differ from “bad” cholesterol? We often hear about “good” and “bad” cholesterol, but most of us don’t really know what makes one good and the other bad. This article not only discusses the differences between the two types of cholesterol, but also explains what triglycerides are and why they are part of the total cholesterol count.

Learn more about cholesterol.

AHA Cholesterol Website

Understanding is the best method of prevention. The American Heart Association wants to make sure you understand what cholesterol is and how it can increase one’s risk of heart disease or stroke. This website provides tools and resources that will help you better understand what cholesterol is and how it can affect your heart health. You will also find articles that explain the differences between “good” and “bad” cholesterol, as well as what you can do to manage and even lower your cholesterol.

Learn more about cholesterol and how to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

My Family Health Tree

Each of us can look in the mirror and see some of the physical traits have been passed on to us by our family members. These traits include our eye color, hair color and height. But those are not the only things passed down to us by family members. Health conditions can also be passed down genetically from one family member to another. This article provides you with facts to better understand what these conditions are and how they can be dangerous to your heart health. It also provides tools to help you map out your family’s health history so that you know for which conditions and diseases you may be at risk. Understanding your potential risks allows you to make lifestyle changes to help reduce that risk.

Lean more about how your family tree can help you identify your own health risks.

The Power of Knowing Your Numbers

Knowledge is power, and knowing the important numbers related to your heart health is powerful. If you simply know what your numbers are and track them over time, you can better understand what you can do to improve your health. This article explains what those numbers are and how knowing them can help you reduce your risks associated with heart disease.

Learn more about how knowing your numbers can help you live a longer, healthier life.

Hispanics and Heart Disease

Heart health is important for every American. Yet, Hispanics and Latinos are at even higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

It is for this reason that understanding what the many heart-related conditions are and how making lifestyle changes can reduce your chance of developing these conditions is so very important. However, many Hispanics and Latinos face challenges that make gaining access to information and care more difficult.

Learn more about conditions affecting Hispanics and Latinos and what can be done.

Cardiac Rehab Questions for Your Healthcare Professional

Most heart disease patients can lower their risk of future heart problems by making changes to their health habits and paying attention to their treatment regime. However, such changes should be made with input from your healthcare team. You need to partner with your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals to determine which changes you should make and how to go about making them, as well as how to best This articles provides you with questions you can ask your team to determine which health habits you should change in order to live a healthier life.

Learn more about the questions you should ask your healthcare professionals.

AHA Heart Health Website

This website provides you access to information concerning many different heart conditions. Topics found here range from cardiac arrest to cholesterol and from diabetes to heart attack. Access any of these topics to gain a better understanding of the risk factors, symptoms, and prevention or treatment options for a whole range of heart-related conditions.

Learn more about these heart conditions.

Is heart disease or stroke in your family? If so, your risk may be higher.

Did your father have a stroke? Did your mother have a heart attack? Did any of your grandparents have heart disease? Those might seem like random questions, but they’re very important when it comes to understanding your risk for these diseases.

Reeling it in can be easy.

This is especially true for African-Americans, who face a much higher risk for stroke than whites. Knowing your family’s health history can help you avoid both heart disease and stroke – the No. 1 and No. 5 causes of death in America.
“Both the risk of heart disease and risk factors for heart disease are strongly linked to family history,” said William Kraus, M.D., a preventive cardiologist and research scientist at Duke University “If you have a stroke in your family, you are more likely to have one.”

How much family history do you need to know?
Dr. Kraus, who is also a volunteer for the American Heart Association, said you should share your family history with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

If you don’t know the full history, start with your immediate family. Find out if your brothers, sisters, parents or grandparents had heart disease or stroke and how old they were when they developed these diseases. However, there’s no need for a major research project beyond those relatives.

“You don’t need to research your great grandparent’s health history because the environment of a great grandparent is not relevant to one that’s living now,” Dr. Kraus said. “The medical treatments and the environment were very different.”

If I have a family history, what can I do about it?
Your family history provides a picture of the environment and genetics in place when these diseases occurred. “You can’t counteract your genetics,” Dr. Kraus said, and so if you have a history you must do what you can to change your environment.

That means lowering your risk by changing behaviors that can increase your chances of getting heart disease or stroke. “It’s good, healthy living – the more that can be ingrained in your family, the more impact it has,” Dr. Kraus said. “A patient should encourage better eating habits, physical activity and eliminating smoking.”

Other genetic factors to be aware of.
Even if your family has a clean bill of health, you should be aware of other genetic factors that can increase your family’s risk. For example, statistics show that African-Americans face higher risks for high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. Statistics also indicate that 1 in 4 Latinos will suffer from high blood pressure, and nearly half will battle high blood cholesterol.

So I’ve got history concerns … what next?
Just because your family has a history of cardiovascular disease, does not mean that you will certainly have the same diseases, it just means that you are more likely to have them. Disease is not imminent, and your health can be controlled by making lifestyle changes like those included in Life’s Simple 7™.

If you want to start living a healthier life, look no further than Life’s Simple 7™. My Life Check was designed by the American Heart Association with the goal of improved health by educating the public on how best to live. These measures have one unique thing in common: any person can make these changes, the steps are not expensive to take and even modest improvements to your health will make a big difference.

Start with one or two. This simple, seven step list has been developed to deliver on the hope we all have–to live a long, productive healthy life.

Take the My Life Check assessment now! It only takes about seven minutes!

Learn more:

Know the Risk Factors of Heart Disease and Stroke

View in Spanish

The Heart. It’s the center of our bodies, the beat to our lives and the source of our love — and it’s at risk. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of all Americans, and Hispanics are at an even higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke because of risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

Knowing your risk and understanding the warning signs of heart disease and stroke can help keep your heart healthy and strong. Making simple lifestyle changes can help lower your risk and reduce your chances of getting cardiovascular disease.

Warning Signs

High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure (also known as hypertension) is common among Hispanics and is a major risk for heart disease and stroke. When your blood pressure is higher than normal, your risk for stroke drastically increases. Blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” because there are almost no symptoms. Keep tabs on it by knowing your numbers and discussing them with your doctor.

Obesity
Extra weight means extra work for your heart. About 75 percent of Mexican-American men and 72 percent of women age 20 and older are overweight or obese.

Family history
Heart disease and stroke are hereditary. If you have a history of heart disease and stroke in your family, you are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Diabetes
Diabetes is very common among Hispanics; an estimated 30 percent have diabetes and about half don’t know it. When left untreated, diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease and other serious health problems.

Prevention

Check your blood pressure regularly and know your numbers. When you know what’s normal for your body, you may be able to detect a problem before it becomes serious. Discuss treatment plans with your doctor and start to track your progress. An ideal blood pressure is 120/80.

Maintain a healthy weight. When your body is working harder for every step, your heart is working harder with every beat. Making small lifestyle changes in your diet and exercise to maintain a healthy weight will help ease the pressure on your heart and help you look and feel great!

Eat a healthy diet. Food is fuel for your heart. Your body needs nutritious foods with a variety a fruits and vegetables and whole grains, with limited sugars and limited salts. Get the entire family involved in planning and eating a healthy diet.

Keep your heart healthy!