Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ABCS of Heart Care


The U.S. Health and Human Services department, the American Heart Association, on Tuesday launched Million Hearts, a coordinated approach to prevent heart problems in the population at risk. The government is contributing nearly $200 million as a part of President Barack Obama's preventive care strategy.

  • A: Aspirin, low dose aspirin, taken twice is better than once. It has to be weighed against the possible side effect of causing bleeding from gut. Bleeding from gut is preventable by proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like Omeprazole. Aspirin is the only NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic Drugs), which is safer than others in causing kidney damage.
  • B: Blood pressure control to the optimal level. Hypertension is best diagnosed in ambulatory setting than through visit to doctor’s chamber. Goal is maintaining blood pressure below 140/90 millimeters of mercury.
  • C: Cholesterol control, specially the bad ones like LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins) and VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoproteins). Raising the level of HDL (High Density Lipoproteins). Most important is the ratio.
  • S: Sodium. Sodium chloride, the common salt, reduction of which in diet is an important factor in reducing hypertension. Daily intake in patients with hypertension can be restricted to 1500 milligrams per day. At any rate, it should be below 2500 milligrams/day. Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet highlights the salt restriction. One has to see the packaged food for the amount of salt content.
These goals are achievable. Possible through wider publicity and awareness.
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