January brought biting cold and heavy snowfalls to much of the country. February brings with it the start of longer days, a little more sunshine and the holiday of love-Valentine’s Day! It is fitting then that February is also National Heart Month. It is a great time to start taking steps to keep your heart in tip top shape not only for you, but also for those you love.
In addition to regular visits to your Hematologist or HTC, visits should be scheduled with your General Practitioner to have routine cardiovascular screenings done. The chart below summarizes how often each of these screenings should take place:
|Routine Checkups||18-29 years||30-39 years||40-49 years||50-64 years||65+ years|
|Includes personal history; body mass index (BMI); physical exam; preventive screening; and counseling discuss smoking, physical activity & diet||Annually for
ages 18–21 then at discretion of provider
|Every 1-3 on risk||years dependingfactors.|
|Blood Pressure (Hypertension)||Each regular healthcare visit or at least once every 2 years if blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg|
|Cholesterol||Every 5 years or more often at discretion of clinician|
|Blood Glucose Test||Every 3 years starting at age 45|
*Chart adapted from: www.bluecrossma.com
Catching heart disease in its earliest stages will provide the best opportunity for change and a healthy outcome. Knowing what the risk factors are and how to modify the ones we can control provides us with the greatest opportunity to prevent heart disease or to slow or stop its progression.
Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors
|Major Risk Factors That Can’t Be Changed
Major Risk Factors That Can Be Modified, Treated or Controlled
Other Factors That Increase Cardiovascular Risk
Reference: The American Heart Association http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/
It is not uncommon for individuals with hemophilia to also develop cardiovascular disease later in life. Limited mobility and an improper diet can be cause for individuals to develop high blood pressure. Meet with your medical provider to have regular screenings, take the time to educate yourself to your risk factors and consider making changes to the ones you have control over. For information and ideas about diet and exercise HFA’s FitFactor program can help. Do it for yourself and the ones you love!
While extensive efforts are made to ensure accuracy of the content of each FitFactor post, these entries are not intended to be construed as medical advice or the official opinion/position of HFA, its staff, or its Board of Directors. Readers are strongly encouraged to discuss their own medical treatment with their healthcare providers.