Heart Disease Can Kill… Stay in the Game!

Heart Disease and Stroke

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in Western North Carolina and strokes are the leading cause of disability in the nation. With funding from The Duke Endowment for 2014 and 2015, MAHEC’s Healthy Heart Buncombe initiative conducts community blood pressure and cholesterol screenings in zip codes 28804 and 28715. Clinical pharmacists help manage patients’ risk factors for heart disease at MAHEC’s Newbridge and Enka/Candler practices. And with a Change AGEnt Action Award from the Hartford Foundation, MAHEC staff have worked with several Enka/Candler residents over 9 months to develop community messages about heart health.

You can help protect your heart and brain by following these steps:

1. Increase physically activity. Getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week helps you lose or maintain weight, lower blood pressure, increase HDL (“good” cholesterol) and keep blood sugar levels in check. It relieves stress and has a positive effect on mood. Click here for more on why to increase activity, how, and to see two Enka Candler residents’ success stories.

2. Quit all tobacco.  Smoking is the leading contributor to premature death in the U.S. It contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries, which causes clotting and serious health problems.  Chewing tobacco and dip also contribute to high blood pressure.  Click here for more on why to quit tobacco, how, and to see several Enka Candler residents’ success stories.

3. Maintain a healthy weight. Too much fat — especially around the waist — increases the risks of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as well as other diseases.  Choose more fruits and vegetables and low fat meat and dairy and increase your physical activity to reach and stay at a healthy weight.  Click here for more on why to maintain a healthy weight, how, and to see two Enka Candler residents' success stories.

4. Optimize blood pressure. High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke.  Blood pressure should be below 120/80 millimeters.  Click here for more on why to optimize blood pressure, how, and to see one Enka Candler resident’s success story.

5. Control cholesterol.  When your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol is too high, it can lead to narrow and less flexible arteries.  This makes it difficult for oxygen-rich blood to flow through your arteries to your heart and brain.   If a clot forms and blocks a narrowed artery, a heart attack or stroke can occur. Click here for more on why to control cholesterol, how, and to see one Enka Candler resident’s success story.

6. Regulate blood sugar. People with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke, and more likely to develop heart disease at an earlier age.  Your fasting blood glucose should be below 100 milligrams per deciliter. Click here for more on why to regulate blood sugar, how, and to see one Enka Candler resident’s success story.

Get a coach! Contact your doctor about steps you can take NOW to prevent a heart attack or stroke.  A doctor can help you quit tobacco and advise you about physical activities, eating plans, and medication that can help you keep your heart healthy.

MAHEC Enka Candler doctor Eric Smith with Enka High School coaches.

For more information, visit these sites: