Cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure levels: Do you know your values?
From the age of 50 and onward, the risk of a heart infarct or a stroke increases significantly. The Swiss Heart Foundation recommends doing a regular check-up.
In all honesty, do you know what your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels are? Knowing about these is very relevant, especially if you are 50 or older. Indeed, these values are very significant for your health of the coming years.
Cholesterol is a constituent of the blood lipids that are needed by the body. If too much of the “bad” LDL-cholesterol is contained in the blood for too long, it deposits itself on the inner layer of the arteries. The arteries begin to become narrower, and with may become blocked. The heart, the brain and the legs do not have a sufficient blood supply.
Should the sugar metabolism be disturbed, causing too much sugar to be transported through the vessels, diabetes is most likely to be at issue. This condition causes damage to the vessels and contributes to the emergence of arteriosclerosis, otherwise known as the hardening of the arteries.
In Switzerland, about a quarter of the adult population suffers from high blood pressure. Hypertension does not always cause any noticeable symptoms, however it does lead to damage to the vessels and organs, especially the heart, the brain and the kidneys.
In short: these three values, in combination with risk factors such as smoking, lack of exercise, unbalanced eating habits, overweight and stress, significantly determine your risk of suffering from a stroke or from cardiovascular illnesses.
These risk factors account for 9 strokes and heart infarcts out of 10. They set in motion a gradual process through which vessels are damaged and eventually blocked. This process is known as atherosclerosis, or more commonly as the hardening of the arteries. This condition usually develops over many years und is first identified when circulatory disturbances or other severe illnesses begin to appear. The more risk factors are present simultaneously and the longer a person is exposed to them, the higher is the risk of a stroke, a heart infarct or a vascular disease.
Heart check-up for prevention
Whoever is aware of their own risk factors is in a better position to prevent atherosclerosis and the severe consequences it engenders. The Swiss Heart Foundation therefore recommends performing a regular heart check-up (inquire in a pharmacy near you if such check-ups are offered). A heart check-up lasts about 20 minutes and includes a questionnaire, a measurement of the abdominal girth and of the cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels, as well as a discussion of the results.
Text: Medical Tribune public – 08/2017
Translation: myh – 09/2017