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How Healthy Is Your Heart?

Take heart: nine out of ten strokes can be prevented.

Did you know, in the United States, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds and every minute someone dies from a heart-related incident? Plus, around 50% of people who have a heart attack, have normal lipid (cholesterol) levels?

And did you know that heart disease is, in most cases, preventable?


The healthy heart quiz

Take this quiz to understand how healthy your heart is. Score 1 for every YES answer. The ideal score is 0!

  • Is your blood pressure above 140/90?

  • Is your resting pulse above 80?

  • Is your cholesterol above 5.5?

  • Is your homocysteine level above 9? (Ask your GP for this test if you have never been tested.)

  • Do you get out of breath climbing up stairs or inclines?

  • Do you sometimes get chest pains?

  • Do you smoke more than 5 cigarettes a day?

  • Do you exercise less than twice a week?

  • Are you overweight?

  • Do you have cardiovascular disease?

  • Do any of your immediate family suffer from cardiovascular disease or high cholesterol?

  • Do you eat LESS than three servings of fruit and vegetables most days?

  • Do you rarely take vitamin supplements?

  • Do you consider your lifestyle stressful?

  • Do you eat fried food, meat or other high fat foods most days?

Less than 4: your score is low but address those questions to which you answered yes.

5 or more: You may be at high risk of cardiovascular illness. Take action now to change your diet and lifestyle. Check my websitE for guidelines, help and advice on how to improve your cardiovascular health. Backed up with the necessary lifestyle changes, many people find rapid improvements in cholesterol, blood pressure and other risk indicators.


Risk factors for Cardiovascular Disease

In assessing your risk for cardiovascular disease, the following are the most important markers to consider. Discuss having a blood test with your GP that includes all of these, particularly homocysteine, which is not always part of a regular blood screen.

You are at a higher risk of heart disease if you have any 3 of the following 5:

  • Increased waist circumference (> 35” women, > 40” men).

  • Increased blood pressure (> 130/85).

  • Increased fasting blood sugar (> 100 mg/dl USA, > 5.55 mmol/L UK).

  • Increased triglycerides (> 150 USA, > 1.69 mg/dl UK).

  • Decreased HDL cholesterol (< 50 women, < 40 men USA, < 1mmol/L UK).

  • Increased homocysteine levels. Just a slightly raised level can increase your risk of a heart attack. In fact published literature indicates that homocysteine is an independent cardiovascular risk factor modifiable by nutrition (i.e. right amount of vitamin Bs) and exercise.[1]

  • Increased CRP. C Reactive Protein is a marker of inflammation in the body and more and more experts who study blood vessels, plaque, and heart attacks in minute detail have been developing an inflammatory explanation for heart attacks.

If there is a family history of cardiovascular disease in your family, it is possible, and in fact in the U.K. becoming more common, to request a LDL -P test.

Remember, no matter how long you have travelled in the wrong direction, you can always turn around.
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