How to reduce cardiovascular risk


Dr. Elpidio Peña Arroyo, Cardiologist-echocardiographer. HGPS Department of Cardiology.

Cardiovascular diseases have now become a true epidemic, so we must take measures that protect us from their development.

It is not possible for us to modify risk factors such as age, race, sex and inheritance; but we can act on modifiable factors.

From the youth we must visit the doctor to know our cardiovascular risk, because these diseases are appearing at an earlier age.

Hypertension: Arterial tension (BP) is currently considered high when it is above 130 / 80mmHg, but does not require starting treatment with medications, giving the opportunity to be managed with some non-pharmacological measures.

Salt consumption is currently 9-12 gr / d. A level less than 5 gr / d, or better yet, 3-4 gr / d is recommended. That is one of the main measures for the control of AT.

The DASH diet was designed to achieve better pressure control, but it can also be useful for weight reduction. It is low in salt, based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats, poultry, beans, soy foods, legumes, eggs; Fish, nuts and seeds. Heart-healthy fats, such as olive oil and canola or avocado.

TA should be measured annually and more frequently in case of hypertension.

Heart-healthy food.

Ultra-processed foods provide few nutrients and contain artificial compounds introduced to give it a better flavor. Among these are soft drinks, hamburgers, nuggets, instant soups, bread and biscuits made with potassium bromide, sausages, pre-cooked dishes or packaged snacks. They have a high level of salt, sugars and saturated fats. Red meat, whole dairy and fried foods are rich in saturated fats and trans fats, which increase cholesterol and triglycerides.

French fries produce atherosclerosis because heated oil undergoes a hydrogenation process, which converts a healthy oil into saturated fat, comparable to trans fat. Do not consume them more than once a week.

Among healthy foods we have fruits (better than juices), vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean proteins. They are rich in probiotics and prebiotics, which are good bacteria and the fibers they feed on. These take care of the immune, digestive and cardiovascular system. Spicy foods because of their capsaicin content, favor cardiovascular health, but its consumption is recommended only once a week.

Unsaturated fats are healthy fats. They can be found in certain vegetable oils, such as olive oil; should be used raw, to season foods. These fats are also present in nuts and fish. It is recommended to consume fish 2-3 times a week and legumes at least 3 times; also whole grains and chicken meat.

The Mediterranean diet is highly recommended. It is a way of life because it also includes sharing food with friends and family, drinking wine with meals and exercising.

It is based on reducing meats, sweets, eggs and carbohydrates, increasing vegetables, fish, shellfish and the use of olive oil. Dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese, but not butter.


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