Mayo Clinic book offers prevention tips for #1 killer of men and women

February 28, 2002

ROCHESTER, MINN. -- More American women and men die of heart disease each year than any other cause. The good news is cardiovascular disease is mostly preventable. Here are five tips from the second edition of the best-selling Mayo Clinic Heart Book, which can help keep your heart healthy.

*Avoid Tobacco. If you are a smoker, quitting is the most important thing you can do for your heart's health. Even if you do not use tobacco, be careful to avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.

*Know your numbers. The factors that raise your risk of heart attack include high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and excess weight. Finding out where you stand in these risk factors is the first step toward lifestyle changes that can protect your heart.

*Get physically active. Even moderate activities like walking 30 minutes a day are enough to provide protective benefits. Although the gain may not be as great, recent evidence indicates that you'll benefit even if you can manage only 10 minutes of activity at a time. Regular exercise, even for a brief interval, leads to better cardiovascular health.

*Eat the right fats in the right amounts. Limit or avoid saturated fats like butter, bacon and sour cream. Polyunsaturated oils like corn oil or sunflower oil are preferable, and monounsaturated ones like olive oil and canola oil are even better. Even these healthier oils should be used in moderation, however; they still contain calories that can lead to a weight problem. Fish and fish oils -- and omega-3 fatty acids -- may be best, because they appear to lower blood triglycerides and blood pressure while reducing the risk of dangerous blood clotting.

*Control your weight. Obesity, or being roughly 25 pounds overweight, lowers "good" HDL cholesterol and raises blood pressure, triglyceride levels, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. It can also induce diabetes, a major risk factor for heart disease. Even a modest reduction in weight -- five to 10 percent -- can reduce these health risks.

To get you started in making these changes, Mayo Clinic Health Information offers a free booklet with advice for a healthy heart. To receive your free copy of "Healthy Meals for Hurried Lives", write to Mayo Clinic Health Information, Communications -- Healthy meals booklet offer -- OE-6, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, Minn., 55905. Or, order the book Mayo Clinic Heart Book ($29.95 plus shipping, handling and applicable sales tax) by calling 800-291-1128, order code 177 and receive the booklet free with your purchase. Revenues from sales of Mayo Clinic books are used to help support Mayo Clinic programs, including medical education and research.
Lee Aase
507-284-5005 (days)
507-284-2511 (evenings)

Mayo Clinic

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