Health Matters: Heart Disease Prevention

Different choices in your everyday life can lower the risk of heart disease.

It could be a silent killer.

You may not feel any different or look any different if you’re developing heart disease.

That’s why Dr. Sam Kapphahn, a Interventional Cardiologist with Essentia Health, says you can take it upon yourself to see where you’re at.

“Eighty percent of cardiovascular disease could be prevented if we were better at recognizing our risk factors and intervening at an appropriate time,” explained Dr. Kapphahn

It begins with checking in with your physician.

“What we would probably start off doing is talking to them about their family history,” said Dr. Kapphahn. “What is their current functionality? Somebody who exercises…”

And..knowing your numbers…including your cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body mass index.

“That can be readily obtained in a physical exam by your primary care provider, and blood work afterwards,” she explained. “When you know that information, you know where you start.”

Physicians say people in general don’t get the physical activity they are supposed to.

Even doing things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator can put you in a better spot.

“Doing something that gets your heart rate up can be a big help…to increasing that activity for people who might have limitations otherwise,” said Dr. Kapphahn.

These small steps can help improve your numbers.

“Whether it’s cutting out our intake of sodium, or whether it’s monitoring our portions to help move our weight into a healthier direction,” she said.

Dr. Kappahahn says doing what you can to your best extent will always be better than nothing at all.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women, taking more lives than all forms of cancer combined.