Preventing cardiovascular disease begins with modifying and controlling risk factors “like smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity in children entering adulthood. Obesity causes resistance to insulin, thus causing diabetes. Today we already know a lot about high cholesterol and ways to lower it. And what is always present in all these risks is obesity and lack of exercise,” Díaz says.
Periodic checkups are part of prevention.
“Everyone must have their cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose checked in order to determine whether any factor risk is developing,’’ Diaz says. “What can definitely be controlled is smoking, exercise and nutrition.”
The American Heart Association recommends “a cholesterol checkup at the age of 20, depending on family history, and a frequency of tests according to the results. It is also convenient to check blood pressure and glucose every year.”
Both the association and the American College of Cardiology highlight the importance of aerobic exercises, walking, biking, elliptical machines or dancing Zumba. Cardiovascular exercises must be of moderate intensity from 30 to 45 minutes a couple of days a week, or more -- if not every day. “Exercising is extremely important because it will prevent the cardiovascular disease from progressing as well as the appearance of more symptoms. Also, it will improve the quality of life and energy level of the person,” Rodríguez says. “And a good diet is as important as exercise. We have recently learned that the Mediterranean diet is ideal for the heart.”
“We have lowered the percentages of people dying of a heart attack. Now we need to work a little more in the preventive part,” Díaz says.