Heart Disease Prevention
The best way to treat heart disease is to keep it from developing in the first place. That’s why Community Hospital emphasizes heart disease prevention. Here you’ll find information on our health programs and preventive screenings, as well as lifestyle recommendations for a healthy heart.
Preventive screenings for heart health
It’s important to be screened during regular doctor visits for heart disease risk factors. You may also get these health screenings at health fairs in our community. View upcoming health fairs.
We recommend the following tests:
- Blood pressure: Get your blood pressure checked at least once every 2 years, starting at age 20.
- Cholesterol: Have your cholesterol levels checked every 5 years, starting at age 20. Consult with your doctor if your cholesterol levels are abnormal, more frequent screenings may be needed.
- Body weight: Your body mass index (BMI) should be checked at every doctor visit, starting at age 20.
- Blood glucose: Starting at age 45, you should have your blood glucose level checked at least every three years.
Lower your risk with a healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle is key to minimizing your risk for heart disease. Here are some general recommendations:
- DASH diet: The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is recommended by cardiologists to help lower blood pressure and as a generally healthy way to eat. It emphasizes eating grains, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, and lean meats and fish, and choosing low-sodium foods. Learn more about the DASH diet.
- Low glycemic index foods: Similarly, cardiologists recommend eating foods that are low on the glycemic index to help lower the risk of developing diabetes, another heart disease risk factor. Low glycemic foods have fewer carbohydrates and starch. Learn more about the glycemic index.
- Lean body weight: A healthy weight helps prevent heart disease risk factors such as obesity and diabetes. Body weight can be measured by body mass index (BMI), and a healthy BMI is considered between 18.5-24.9. Calculate your BMI.
- Stop smoking: Smoking is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. If you smoke, Community Hospital’s Kick the Nic program offers a free introductory meeting with a counselor about effective ways to quit. Read more about Kick the Nic
- Exercise recommendations: The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise five days a week, or 150 minutes per week, to keep your heart healthy. Walking is an easy, inexpensive way to get moderate exercise. The key is to pick an exercise you enjoy doing and will stick with.
- Cut back on salt: A high-sodium diet can raise blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends consuming less than 1,500 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day, which is far less than the average American eats. Most sodium in the diet comes from processed, packaged foods. To help cut back on salt, cook your own foods, buy low-sodium products, and skip the table salt.
Are you at risk? Understand your personal risk factors.
Prevention Classes and Programs
Advanced lipid management program
If you've been told you have high cholesterol, Community Hospital's Advanced Lipid Management Program can assist you in assessing your risk for heart disease and developing an individualized treatment program to lower your cholesterol. The program includes individual consultations with a cardiologist and registered nurses.
Information: (831) 647-1123
Medical fitness program
Discover how you can manage health conditions through an exercise program designed after an evaluation by our experts. The program includes exercise training and supervision with a clinical exercise physiologist for all levels, clinical monitoring as needed (i.e. oxygen, blood pressure, heart rate/rhythm), and support and recommendations on how to continue exercise independently.
Quitting smoking can help reduce your risk for heart disease, or improve your health if you already have heart disease. Although kicking the habit may not be easy, research shows that combining group support, individual counseling, and medication management increases your chances of successfully quitting smoking.
Community Hospital’s Kick the Nic program offers a free introductory 30-minute session with a smoking cessation expert to assess your readiness to quit. Once you join the program, you’ll meet individually with a counselor who can assess your progress and help you set action steps.
Find out more about Kick the Nic