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It’s Heart Month. Keep yours healthy!
February 19, 2019
February is American Heart Month. It’s a time when we remind ourselves to take good care of our hearts throughout the whole year. Being proactive about your own heart health can greatly reduce your risk of a heart incident.
“Lifestyle choices make a significant impact on the health of your heart, and staying active and eating a nutritious balanced diet are a good start,” says Dr. Todd Alderson, Providence Heart cardiologist. “Another way to be proactive about heart health is to talk about key risk factors with your doctor. There are a number of key areas he or she can review with you to evaluate your risk.”
Talk with your doctor about:
- Blood pressure numbers: Is your blood pressure at normal levels? One in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure. It’s important to know what your blood pressure is and if it falls in the normal range, which is below 120/80. If your numbers are at 120-129/less than 80, your blood pressure would be considered “elevated.” Hypertension – or high blood pressure – occurs at levels of 130-139/80-89.
- Cholesterol numbers: Do you know your cholesterol levels? Your provider measures three different facets of your cholesterol – HDL (the “good” kind), LDL (the “bad” kind) and triglycerides (fat used to store excess energy from the foods you eat). Your goal should be healthy cholesterol levels of:
- Total cholesterol: Less than 200
- HDL (good): 50 + for women/40+ for men
- LDL (bad): Less than 100
- Triglycerides: Less than 150
- Family heart health history: Some of the things you have in common with your family members – like genetics, environment and lifestyle factors – can play a role in your personal health. By having a working knowledge of your family’s medical history, you can help your provider identify where you may be at higher risk for certain conditions like heart disease and work to reduce your risks through lifestyle changes.
- Smoking history: Smoking can impact the function of your heart and damage the structure of your blood vessels. Tell to your doctor if you or your family have a history of smoking.
“Your risk factors help your doctor determine whether or not you would benefit from seeing a cardiologist for additional screening,” says Dr. Alderson. “Acting early to check your heart health puts yourself and your health care team in a better position to catch and treat any potential issues that may arise.”
Don't know your heart health numbers? Call 800.424.DOCS to make an appointment with a provider today.
M. Todd Alderson , MD, FACC holds a medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Indiana. He completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Arizona and his cardiology fellowship at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. Previously practicing in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Dr. Alderson is certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease, and Nuclear Cardiology.
Dr. Alderson practices at:
Providence Heart, 1330 Haile Street, Camden, SC 29020 - (803) 432-6771
Providence Heart, 114 Gateway Corporate Blvd., Suite 120, Columbia, SC 29203 - (803) 409-7150