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Entries in cardiovascular health (3)


Customizing a cardio plan to work in your favor

Figuring out how much cardio you need, how hard you should be working, and which cardio exercises are best can be a real challenge when you don’t have the right tools or information. While many people are pretty clear about their exercise goals, it can be pretty easy to fall into a cardio routine that isn’t as beneficial as we may have originally hoped for. 

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Heart Disease 101: Unexpected Risk Factors

Consider this. I’m 31 years old, exercise at least five days per week, sleep at least seven hours every night, eat at least 5 servings of vegetables daily, avoid tobacco, and am near-optimal body composition. According to the American Heart Association’s heart disease risk calculator, I should be on moderate-to-high-dose statin therapy. Why? My systolic blood pressure runs slightly higher than 120mm Hg. That’s all.( In case you were wondering, my diastolic blood pressure is usually in the high 50s or mid 60s, which is considered excellent).The calculator didn’t ask for any of the other information I shared about my lifestyle choices. For its purposes, they don’t matter (or make the cut in its final design). If nothing else, this example at least begs the question of how cardiovascular risk is assessed. What do conventional measures examine, and what else should we be noting in realistically evaluating our potential for heart disease? 


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6 Misunderstandings about Blood Pressure

One-third of American adults have higher than acceptable blood pressure, and less than half of them have their high blood pressure controlled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Uncontrolled hypertension, as treatable as it is, has numerous and serious health consequences as this CDC infographic illustrates, including a four-fold increase in likelihood of dying from stroke and a three-fold increase in likelihood of dying from heart disease. Blood pressure is a critical measure of health and reveals how much pressure is being placed on our blood vessel walls. It’s expressed in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for both systolic (when the heart is contracting to force blood flow through arteries) and diastolic (when the heart is relaxed and is re-filling its chambers for the next beat). Chronically elevated blood pressure is known as a “silent killer” because it wreaks havoc on our bodies without showing obvious symptoms. Even with public awareness around blood pressure, misunderstandings are pervasive and can discourage us from seeking the full evaluation and medical assistance we may need to monitor this essential health marker. Read on to learn six blood pressure misconceptions.


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