Your Wellness

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Heart Health

Keep Your Heart In Mind

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number one cause of death in all men of all ages in 2006 was cardiovascular disease (CVD).31 That means preventing CVD is an important thing you can do for your health—whether or not you have prostate cancer. Fortunately, you can do something to improve your heart health—you can start by reducing your cholesterol and blood pressure.32

In fact, knowing your cholesterol and blood pressure numbers is just as important as knowing your latest PSA results. With your doctor’s advice, making simple changes in your diet and exercise regimen can help make a difference in your overall heart health.33,34

Watch your cholesterol

It is important to monitor your cholesterol levels through regular testing to be sure your heart is healthy, even if you don’t have prostate cancer.33 Cholesterol test results include your total cholesterol level, which is a combination of 3 things35:

  • LDL (bad cholesterol) +
  • HDL (good cholesterol) +
  • Triglyceride level (blood fats)

Cholesterol numbers can help predict your risk of heart disease. And, they may let you know if lifestyle changes, such as changes in your diet and starting an exercise program, should be considered.36

Talk to your doctor about what your cholesterol numbers mean. You can also learn more about taking care of your heart from the American Heart Association.

Check your blood pressure

Have your blood pressure levels monitored regularly to ensure good heart health. Blood pressure levels can let you know how well your changes in lifestyle are working. Optimal blood pressure levels may also lower the risk for some abnormal prostate conditions.33 The chart below shows the different blood pressure categories and what they mean.

Blood Pressure Levels37
Normal Systolic (the measurement of blood pressure when your heart contracts): less than 120 mm Hg

Diastolic (the measurement of blood pressure when your heart relaxes and expands): less than 80 mm Hg
At risk
(prehypertension)
Systolic: 120–139 mm Hg

Diastolic: 80–89 mm Hg
High Systolic: 140 mm Hg or higher

Diastolic: 90 mm Hg or higher

Health tips for your heart

  • Get your cholesterol levels tested regularly—US guidelines recommend once every 5 years.35 Your doctor may determine that you need more frequent monitoring.
  • If you’re at risk for or have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, consider regularly checking your blood pressure at home, in addition to regular monitoring with your doctor.38
  • If you smoke, quit. If you’re having trouble quitting on your own, ask your doctor for other ways to kick the smoking habit.36
  • Cut down on your sodium. The American Heart Association’s revised sodium guidelines recommend less than 1,500 milligrams (mg) a day.39 Check nutrition labels, especially on processed foods that tend to be high in sodium.
  • Remember, lifestyle changes can reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure levels.36

Much of the lifestyle information found on Prostate.com is also featured in Promoting Wellness for Prostate Cancer Patients by Mark Moyad, MD, MPH. A co-director of the Men’s Health Program at the University of Michigan,
Dr Moyad is on the staff at the University of Michigan Medical Center, Department of Urology. He is the Jenkins/Pokempner endowed Director of Preventive and Alternative Medicine. Ask your healthcare provider about obtaining a copy of Dr Moyad’s book.