High blood pressure, called hypertension, is directly related to coronary artery disease and thickening of the heart muscle.
Blocked arteries in the neck, the carotid arteries, can lead to stroke when sufficiently narrowed. Stethoscope examination of the neck can detect sounds called bruits which often indicate carotid artery blockage.
Aerobic exercise helps protect against heart disease. The greatest benefit is achieved with at least three 30-minute exercise sessions per week. Activities do not need to be strenuous. Walking, swimming or bike riding are some of the easier habits to adopt.
Diabetes is associated with premature atherosclerosis and small vessel disease. Tighter control of blood sugar levels is thought to reduce complications secondary to diabetes. Appropriate weight loss in Type II diabetes reduces the risk of cardiac disease.
Cigarette smoking is arguably the greatest threat to a healthy heart. Cigars are also linked to higher incidences of heart disease. Your primary care physician can provide suggestions about the current therapies and drugs that help you stop smoking.
Lipid levels should be measured on fasting blood samples. Based on multiple studies, the following guidelines for blood lipid levels are recommended by the National Cholesterol Education Program:
The fat and fat-like substances in the blood are called lipids and include both cholesterol and triglycerides. Cholesterol is present in every cell of your body. It is used to form cell membranes and part of some hormones.