Wednesday, February 3, 2021
CMO Message - Cardiovascular Health
We don’t often think about our blood vessels but they are critically important for the functioning of all our organs including our heart and brain. Without adequate blood supply to deliver oxygen and nutrients and get rid of waste, the tissue of these vital organs can get damaged and die. When this happens in the heart, it’s known as a heart attack. When this happens in the brain, it’s known as a stroke.
While there are several different mechanisms by which the blood supply to organs can be compromised, the most common is related to a condition called atherosclerosis where there’s a buildup of plaque in the blood vessels. This buildup develops over years and is caused by a combination of genetics in lifestyle factors. Heart attacks and strokes can run in the family, but 80% of cardiovascular disease is preventable. The major lifestyle factors that put you at higher risk of heart disease and stroke include smoking cigarettes, excessive alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, low physical activity, high stress, and inadequate sleep.
In addition, several chronic conditions, if uncontrolled, damage blood vessels and lead to atherosclerosis. These conditions include diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol levels. If untreated, the consequences of these conditions aren’t just limited to increase risk of heart disease and stroke. They also increase risk for kidney disease, dementia, and even certain types of cancer.
If you have any chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, talk to your doctor to make sure your risk factors are under control. Our lifestyle management program at the Health & Wellness Centers is also available to help optimize your health. If you have a family history of heart attack or stroke, you might be at a higher risk of these conditions and might need additional screening. If you smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol regularly, discuss ways to cut back with your provider. Cardiovascular disease is highly preventable and we at UnitedAg are here to make sure you stay as healthy as possible!
- Rosemary Ku, MD/MBA/MPA