Prevention

Treating Cardiovascular Diseases in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois

Prevention of heart diseaseis essential for everyone. With the epidemic of obesity in the U.S., diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure have become very common. These are the major risk factors for heart disease.

It’s not just adults who have these risks factors. More than half our teenagers already have some degree of atherosclerosis, a type of heart disease also known as hardening of the arteries.

At the Clinic for Preventive Cardiology, our goal is to reverse these trends so we all can live longer, healthy and productive lives. To reduce the risks associated with heart disease, it is important to focus on the following five guidelines:

1.     Achieve a healthy shape and weight. Your body’s shape and weight tell much about the state of your health. People with a large waistline are often referred to as having an “apple shape.”  It is important to strive for a healthy waistline, which is less than 40” for men and less than 35” for women.

For most people, a reliable indicator of a healthy weight is the body mass index (BMI), a number calculated from your weight and height. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m2.  Find out yours with our BMI calculator.

An increase in waistline and BMI can result from a combination of poor dietary habits and a very sedentary lifestyle. To manage both, it is important to:

  • Consume fewer calories by reducing portion sizes.
  • Eat a healthy diet, whichincludes plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, unprocessed grains and legumes, and a small amount of meat. Milk, dairy products and food containing saturated fat should be avoided. Refined sugar, sweets and soft drinks containing sugar or high-fructose corn syrup must be avoided. 
  • Get sufficient physical activity by walking about 30 minutes a day at least three days a week, or preferably five days a week. A more important guideline is to do the best you can and weigh yourself once a week. A good measure of getting enough physical activity is to lose weight gradually and decrease your waistline until you reach your target goals.

2.     Get adequate duration of restful sleep.

3.     Reduce stress in your daily life by making time for relaxation, recreation and time with loved ones. It is a very good practice to get involved in the community and, if desirable, faith-based activity.

4.     Avoid polluted environments, especially cigarette smoke, the most toxic pollution. If you smoke, seek help and quit. Also avoid secondhand smoke by staying away from the smoke of others. Limit alcohol intake. Avoid drinking artificially sweetened beverages, if possible. Avoid drinking bottled water and drink tap water instead. If necessary, use filters to obtain clean, refreshing water.

5.     If you have other diseases or conditions, manage and monitor them well with help from your health care provider, if necessary. The following conditions are especially important to avoid or control:

  • Excess weight or obesity
  • High blood pressureHigh blood pressure
  • Low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol
  • Pre-diabetes or diabetes 

Finding the Help You Need

The Clinic for Preventive Cardiology, located Aurora Sinai Medical Center and Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, can assess your risk for cardiovascular disease and provide personal coaching on how to live a healthier lifestyle. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (414) 219-7653.

Our focus on preventing cardiovascular disease is one of the many benefits of working with an integrated healthcare system that focuses on the continuum of care. We also offer best-in-class services and treatments and some are unique in the areas we serve.

You will find Aurora doctors located throughout eastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois. Find a doctor or heart specialist near you. To get a second opinion or if you need assistance finding a provider, please call 888-649-6892.

This page was written by V. Shrinivas Murthy, MD, PhD, an Aurora doctor practicing at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center and Aurora Sinai Medical Center.