Jarett Berry, M.D. Answers Questions On: Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease
When do people need to starting thinking about prevention of cardiovascular disease?
Patients tend to think that their cardiovascular health is a function of how they feel, when in fact our heart health is really a function of what our risk factors are.
I see a lot of middle-age patients who are otherwise healthy and say they feel great but who have elevated risk factors that will determine their heart health over the next 30 years.
Mid-life is really the time to intervene and redirect patients to consider their risk-factor burden and its effect on their cardiovascular health both now and in the future.
What’s the connection between cardiorespiratory fitness in middle age and long-term risk for cardiovascular disease?
Our research consistently shows that a patient’s cardiorespiratory fitness (exercise capacity, for example) in middle age is particularly important in helping us predict their long-term risk of heart failure.
Those with low cardiorespiratory fitness in mid-life are especially likely to develop certain subtypes of heart failure later on.
How do the stages of hypertension (high blood pressure) correlate with increased risk for a cardiovascular event?
In general, the higher a person’s blood pressure, the higher his or her risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke.
That risk increases dramatically in patients with Stage 2 hypertension – blood pressure in which the systolic (top) number is 160 or higher and the diastolic (bottom) number is 100 or higher.