Part III of IV – Heart Health Myths and Real Facts by Dr. Sanghvi, an experienced Cardiologist
As part of our “Health and Wellness Awareness – Education with a purpose” series, we plan to publish every Friday in February two Heart Health Myths and real facts to debunk the myths by Dr. Sanghvi, MD, FACC, experienced Cardiologist and ICC’s Lifestyle Program’s Director of Health. Two sets of Myths and real facts were published earlier on February 4th and February 11th)
We hope you will read and reflect on the facts surrounding heart disease and more importantly, act on improving your heart health.
Heart Health Myth #5: If you take a cholesterol-lowering medication, you can eat anything.
Fact: We get cholesterol in our bloodstream from two sources. Cholesterol is either consumed in the food that we eat, and we also produce cholesterol in our body made by the liver. Some drugs, such as statins, lower the blood cholesterol level by blocking an enzyme in the liver that produces cholesterol. That means statin has no control on the ingested cholesterol plus saturated fat from poor diet making its way to the bloodstream. So, a poor diet can make statin less or not effective at all to lower cholesterol. Also keep in mind that poor diet will also increase the risk of other independent risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes. So, we need a heart healthy diet, low in saturated fat and cholesterol, to complement a statin therapy.
Heart Health Myth #6: If you are fit and trim, you don’t have to worry about heart disease.
Fact: While exercising regularly and maintaining normal weight and BMI by US standard in your PCP office can reduce your risk. However, these practices may give you a false sense of security and may not completely safeguard you against developing heart disease.
First, the normal BMI cutoff of 25 has been lowered to 23 for South Asians by American Heart Association because of strong evidence suggesting that we are more prone to develop metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease at lower body weight and BMI. Also, you can be physically fit and trim, and still have other risk factors like high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, and family history to list a few, which can be present without symptoms, and can raise your likelihood to develop heart disease. Because of this, it’s important to see your doctor for regular checkups to detect any of these conditions, work up any symptoms as they arise and follow prescribed diagnostic workup and treatment, including lifestyle modification to assure best long-term cardiovascular health.
ICC as a consortium partner of South Asian Heart Center is offering a proven program with documented results to South Asians in New England area. Over 128 community members from New England area have already joined the program and have benefited from it. South Asian Heart Center has been offering this program for the past 12 years and the evidence they have collected makes it clear that besides medical care, these risks and conditions can be improved by Lifestyle changes. To be effective these programs need to be culturally tailored, evidence-based and sustainable. To learn more about this program, benefits and participants testimonials, please visit – https://ouricc.org/lifestyle-program/
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