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Prevention

Heart Disease Prevention

To prevent heart disease, you need to watch your diet, lose weight, and exercise.

Diet

Diet and nutrition play a significant part in preventing heart disease. Include more fiber and reduce the amount of saturated and dietary fat.

Obesity

Obesity means that your body weight is much greater than what is healthy. If you are obese, you also have a much higher amount of body fat than is healthy or desirable.

Exercise

Everyone can benefit from increased physical activity—any activity that causes your body to work harder than normal. Look for activities that go beyond your daily routine of sitting, standing, and walking up stairs.

Early Detection

Presbyterian Heart and Vascular Care provides a variety of services to prevent heart disease, preserve heart health, and detect heart disease early. Presbyterian Heart and Vascular Care emphasizes early detection of heart disease through screening, medical evaluation and noninvasive diagnostic testing. Beyond traditional cholesterol tests, advanced lipid testing evaluates blood fat substances that can lead to atherosclerosis, including: total cholesterol, LDL ("bad") cholesterol, HDL ("good") cholesterol and triglycerides. High-sensitivity c-reactive protein, an important heart disease risk factor that reflects inflammation, is a commonly used test.

Presbyterian Heart and Vascular Care emphasizes early detection of heart disease through screening, medical evaluation and noninvasive diagnostic testing. Beyond traditional cholesterol tests, advanced lipid testing evaluates blood fat substances that can lead to atherosclerosis, including: total cholesterol, LDL ("bad") cholesterol, HDL ("good") cholesterol and triglycerides. High-sensitivity c-reactive protein, an important heart disease risk factor that reflects inflammation, is a commonly used test.

To prevent and treat cardiovascular disease, you need to manage risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, diet, obesity, exercise, cholesterol and diabetes. Supervised exercise programs, nutrition counseling and group education sessions that address these heart disease risk factors, as well as structured and monitored cardiac rehabilitation, are available at Presbyterian’s Healthplex. These help meet the special needs of patients after heart attack, open heart surgery, angioplasty, stenting or stroke, as well as individuals with cardiovascular disease.

Early detection and testing are especially important if someone is experiencing symptoms indicative of a heart condition, including chest, neck, jaw or arm discomfort, especially with activity; frequent indigestion or abdominal discomfort; shortness of breath; easy fatigability; decreased effort tolerance; palpitations; and lightheadedness or fainting.

Tests that are used in cardiac evaluation include:

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG): studies the electrical impulses of the heart to identify abnormal heart rhythms, heart size and heart damage
  • Holter monitor: Detects heart rhythm disturbances in conjunction with such symptoms as dizziness, lightheadedness or palpitations (a portable version of an EKG worn for 24 hours)
  • Exercise stress testing: Monitors cardiovascular performance during exercise performed on a treadmill or stationary bicycle