Are you at risk for heart disease? Everyone has some risk of eventually developing heart disease, but for some the risk is higher than for others. People with diabetes, for example, have a two to four times higher risk of developing heart or blood vessel disease than people who don’t have diabetes. But even with diabetes, the risks can be lowered, and these resources can help you do it.
First, check out one of the risk assessment tools to see how high your risk is. Then read through the list of books, periodicals, and online resources to select what might be most helpful to you. There’s a lot you can learn and do on your own, but don’t forget to enlist the help of your diabetes care providers as you take charge of your cardiovascular health.
Risk assessment tools
NATIONAL CHOLESTEROL EDUCATION PROGRAM
This tool estimates a person’s 10-year risk of having a heart attack using information from the Framingham Heart Study, a large, long-term study of heart health. You supply your age, gender, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol, systolic blood pressure (the first number of your blood pressure reading), and whether or not you are a smoker to calculate your risk.
MY LIFE CHECK
This tool ranks a person’s fitness based on answers to questions about a group of goals – Get Active, Control Cholesterol, Eat Better, Manage Blood Pressure, Lose Weight, Reduce Blood Sugar, and Stop Smoking – that the American Heart Association calls the “simple seven.” The Web site’s risk assessment tool identifies trouble spots, and offers a Simple 7 Action Plan for improvement in those areas.
BEATING HEART DISEASE
Strategies for a Healthy Heart
Thomas H. Lee, MD, and Harvey B. Simon, MD
Harvard Medical School
This book aims to clarify often-confusing advice about how to prevent heart disease – and how those who already have the condition can best treat it – by identifying the risk factors you can control. The book can also be ordered as an electronic PDF file at the Harvard Health Publications Web site, www.health.harvard.edu.
CLEVELAND CLINIC HEALTHY HEART LIFESTYLE GUIDE AND COOKBOOK
Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, Bonnie Sanders Polin, PhD, and Frances Towner Giedt
New York, 2007
This cookbook offers over 150 recipes, low in sugar and saturated fat and high in fiber and lean protein, designed to help prevent heart disease. The authors have developed three different eating plans, and provide a week’s worth of recipes for each one. The book also includes tips on everyday concerns such as eating out at restaurants and choosing heart-healthy proteins.
MAYO CLINIC 5 STEPS TO CONTROLLING HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Sheldon G. Steps, MD
Mayo Clinic Health Solutions
Rochester, Minnesota, 2008
This book describes the symptoms and causes of high blood pressure and presents the authors’s five-step plan to control it. It also offers such heart-related information as how to recognize a heart emergency and how heart health affects other chronic conditions, such as diabetes.
THE CLEVELAND CLINIC GUIDE TO HEART ATTACKS
Curtis Rimmerman, MD, MBA
New York, 2009
As well as information on heart attack risk factors and prevention, this book offers facts from the latest studies on heart attacks and personal stories from people who have survived traumatic heart events. Kaplan also publishes The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Heart Failure which offers similar information about heart failure (a condition in which the heart is no longer able to pump blood effectively).
THE NEW AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION COOKBOOK
American Heart Association
New York, 2010
The eighth edition of this popular cookbook includes 612 recipes, over 150 of which are new additions. It also offers advice on grocery shopping, basic cooking help, and meal plans for every day and for special occasions.
MAYO CLINIC WELLNESS SOLUTIONS FOR HEART HEALTH AND MAYO CLINIC WELLNESS SOLUTIONS FOR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
The Mayo Clinic’s Wellness series of instructional DVDs combines alternative and conventional medical treatments: Doctors discuss heart health and explain the role of a healthy diet, and a yoga instructor leads meditation routines and exercises designed to encourage relaxation and improve circulation.
The American Heart Association (AHA) co-publishes this quarterly magazine that offers up-to-date advice and news on heart health. The magazine includes the AHA’s latest recommendations on treatments, guidelines, and heart health goals. Also included are articles about and by people who have or are affected by heart conditions.
HARVARD HEART LETTER
The Harvard Health Letter is published once a month, providing health news with a focus on the latest cardiac research. The newsletter is available in print and PDF form.
THE HEART OF DIABETES
The Heart of Diabetes is a program designed by the American Heart Association to encourage people who have both Type 2 diabetes and heart disease to eat healthily, get regular physical activity, and talk to their doctors regularly. The Web site includes a link to the My Diabetes Health Assessment (www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3063522), which calculates a person’s 10-year risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. To use it, enter your weight, age, level of physical activity, high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol, total cholesterol (HDL plus LDL), blood pressure, age at diagnosis with diabetes, and current HbA1c level. Next, users can sign up online for the Reach Your Goals Guide, which combines a 12-week series of motivational e-mails and a monthly e-newsletter that offers information on heart health-related news, events, and promotions. The program also includes a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/heartofdiabetes) that hosts news from the AHA as well as user discussions.
US AGAINST ATHERO
Us Against Athero is a campaign by AstraZeneca to educate people about and raise awareness of atherosclerosis, a condition in which arteries become stiffened and blocked by fat deposits (when these damaged arteries are in the arms or legs, the condition is known as peripheral vascular disease, or PVD). The Web site includes Artery Explorer, a short video that shows how and why arteries become stiffened and blocked. Readers can also sign up for the Athero IQ Program online newsletter, which sends information about atherosclerosis and related AstraZeneca products. A Spanish version of the site, Juntos Contra La Ateros, is at www.usagainstathero.com/esp.
HEART 360 CARDIOVASCULAR WELLNESS CENTER
(800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721)
Heart360 is a tool that allows people to store and track their heart health information online. Once you sign up for a free Microsoft HealthVault account, visit the My Dashboard section of the Web site to input blood pressure and cholesterol readings; there are also sections for blood glucose level, weight, and physical activity. As readings accumulate, Heart360 helps you visually gauge your progress using graphs. The Web site, offered by the American Heart Association, also provides heart information and makes it possible for people to share data with health-care providers.
NATIONAL HEART LUNG AND BLOOD INSTITUTE (NHLBI)
P.O. Box 30105
Bethesda, MD 20824-0105
TTY: (240) 629-3255
Fax: (240) 629-3246
The NHLBI offers a number of useful pages on heart health, including “High Blood Cholesterol: What You Need to Know” (www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/chol/wyntk.htm), “Stay in Circulation: Facts About Peripheral Artery Disease” (www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/pad/materials/pad_extfctsht_general.html), and “Your Guide to Living Well with Heart Disease” (www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/other/your_guide/yg_livingwell.htm). These Web pages and others can be downloaded as PDF files; contact the NHLBI to order paper copies.