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June 11, 2008 > Learn How to Prevent a Heart Attack and Stroke

Learn How to Prevent a Heart Attack and Stroke

Washington Hospital Seminar Focuses on Ways to Reduce Risk Factors

Do you have high blood pressure? If so, you are at risk for a heart attack and stroke as well as other serious medical problems. High blood pressure can lead to a narrowing of the arteries called atherosclerosis, which wreaks havoc on the body.
The arteries carry blood from the heart to other parts of the body. Atherosclerosis occurs when fatty deposits called plaque build up in the inner lining of the artery walls, restricting blood flow. When an artery is blocked or narrowed, the part of the body supplied by that artery does not get enough blood and oxygen.
"The disease process is the same, whether we are talking about heart attack, stroke or a number of other diseases that are caused by atherosclerosis," said Ash Jain, a cardiologist and stroke program medical director at Washington Hospital. "Heart disease is the number one cause of death and stroke is number three, so if we can prevent this disease process, we can reduce the number of people who are dying or living a horrible life."
Jain will present an upcoming seminar with Doug Van Houten, stroke program coordinator at Washington Hospital, titled "How to Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke and Lower Your Blood Pressure." The seminar is scheduled for Tuesday, June 17, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the Conrad E. Anderson, MD Auditorium at Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue, in Fremont. To register, call (800) 963-7070.
The seminar will cover the disease process, risk factors, diagnosis, and disease management. A major focus will be on lifestyle changes that can slow the disease process and prevent serious complications.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor. According to the American Heart Association, one in three adults in this country has high blood pressure. Because there are no symptoms, it is estimated that nearly one-third of these people don't know they have it. This is why high blood pressure is often called "the silent killer." The only way to tell if your blood pressure is high is to have it checked regularly.


Lifestyle Changes are Key

Lifestyle changes that can help lower your blood pressure and reduce other risk factors are key to preventing a heart attack and stroke. In addition to high blood pressure, risk factors for atherosclerosis include high cholesterol, obesity, lack of physical activity, smoking, and diabetes.
Van Houten will provide tips for reducing these risk factors, including the following.
Eat a low-fat, low-salt diet. A lot of the salt we eat is hidden in food. Only about 15 to 20 percent of the salt we eat comes from the salt shaker. The rest is contained in canned and processed foods.
Get active. Spend about 30 minutes a day working up a little sweat. "It doesn't have to be fancy. A walk around your neighborhood will do it," Van Houten said.
Lose weight. Every two pounds you lose can lower your blood pressure by a point, according to Van Houten, so even moderate weight loss can reduce your risk for a heart attack and stroke.
Avoid tobacco. If you smoke, quit. Tobacco smoke significantly worsens atherosclerosis and speeds its growth in the arteries.
Reduce stress and alcohol consumption. Both stress and excessive alcohol use can increase your blood pressure.
"I will take the guesswork out of reducing these risk factors," Van Houten said. "Participants will walk away with practical ideas for eating right, getting active and improving their health."

To learn more about preventing a heart attack and stroke, join Dr. Ash Jain and Doug Van Houten, R.N., for their lecture and Q&A on how to lower your risk factors for heart attack and stroke. Call (800) 963-7070 to register for the upcoming seminar.

When: Tuesday, June 17
Time: 1 to 3 p.m.
Where: Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, Rooms A & B, 2500 Mowry Avenue (Washington West) in Fremont.

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