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Three Keys to Heart Health, According to a Cardiologist

Three Keys to Heart Health, According to a Cardiologist

We all understand the importance of maintaining heart health. Yet, many don’t know the best questions to ask their doctor to make sure they are taking every possible precaution. Below are three essential questions to ask your physician, and together you can gain a more accurate picture of your heart health.

What is my blood pressure?
Start with the basics: blood pressure. A normal blood pressure should be below 120/80. If it is consistently higher, ask about steps you can take to lower it. Sometimes, lifestyle adjustments such as a low-sodium diet and regular exercise can get blood pressure back under control. You may require medication if it is consistently higher than 130/80. Your doctor will know the best next steps.

Many patients receive blood pressure readings exclusively at the doctor’s office, which can be misleading. Sometimes, patients are anxious, which can produce falsely high results. I recommend patients get a blood pressure machine for home use, so that they can test themselves regularly to see whether their levels are consistently high. This will help your physician determine whether medication is truly necessary.

What are my cholesterol levels?
In general, you want low LDL and high HDL cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol in particular needs to be controlled so that you can avoid plaque buildup in your blood vessels, which blocks blood flow to your heart muscle. This can lead to adverse outcomes such as heart attack.

Ask your doctor to check your total cholesterol, LDL and HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Depending on the number of risk factors you already have—such as diabetes, coronary artery disease or others—they can help you set goals to get your cholesterol under control.

Do I have “silent plaque” in my arteries?
Some patients don’t have symptoms but may still be experiencing what we call “silent plaque” in their heart. Doing a simple CT calcium scoring test, also known as a coronary calcium scan, can help determine if this is the case. Ask your primary doctor if this is a suitable test for your situation.

Heart health starts with you
Being proactive is key. By working together with your doctor and asking the right questions, you’ll arrive at a plan that works to help prevent heart disease and prolong healthy living.

The Casa Colina Cardiology Clinic provides high-quality medical care for your heart, circulation, and cardiovascular needs. Our services can help reduce the chances of heart disease or slow its progression. For more information, call 909/596-7733, ext. 3800.