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Heart Health Tips from Cleveland Clinic Cardiologist

Heart Health Tips from Cleveland Clinic Cardiologist – In honor of February’s American Heart Health Month initiative, I interviewed Leonardo Rodriguez, MD, a staff cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic. His specialty interests focus on heart valve disease, endocarditis, pericardial disease, thoracic aortic aneurysm, cardiovascular imaging, echocardiogram, cardiac CT.

Heart disease is the number one killer for all Americans. And, according to a recent Heart Health Survey by the Cleveland Clinic, while most Americans are concerned about dying from heart disease, there is still a need for increased education on heart disease risk factors and their implications. This is why it so important, in the fight against heart disease, for Americans to know their numbers and how these risk factors can impact their heart health.

I interviewed Dr. Rodriguez to discuss ways we can proactively monitor our heart health.

Heart Health Tips from Cleveland Clinic Cardiologist

Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – Why is heart disease the number one killer for Americans?

Dr. Rodriguez Cleveland Clinic – Thank you for the question. I think that incidents for heart disease have been declining over the last few years. But, it still remains the number one killer in America. So, the importance of allocation about risk factors is very important and we would like people to be aware of these risk factors and how to control them.

Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – According to a recent survey by the Cleveland Clinic, many Americans know some of the risk factors of heart disease – but where are we getting it wrong?

Dr. Rodriguez Cleveland Clinic First, about 1/3 of the people that were interviewed didn’t know the risk factors. So, we want to extend and expand to cover 100% of the people to have this information. Secondly, although they knew about individual risk factors, they were not aware of the interaction between them, but also didn’t know the personal values or what are the normal values for these risk factors. For instance, they didn’t know what was the blood pressure of the fasting blood sugar. I think that that’s important when they interact with the doctors to ask for this information.

Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – What are the risk factors that we should be on top of to make sure we are heart healthy?

Dr. Rodriguez Cleveland Clinic – I think when you visit your doctor, be sure that you get your blood pressure taken and ask for the numbers. It should be less than 140 over 90. At least once each year, you should get your fasting blood sugar measured. It should be less than 100. Also, you have your cholesterol measured. Normally, the total cholesterol with the bad fraction called the LDL cholesterol; this is the bad cholesterol. If you don’t have any heart disease, it should be in between 100 and 130. But, if you already had a heart attack or stroke or you have any of these kinds of risk factors, you should aim for lower values. For people with these risk factors it should be 70 or less. You should also know your height and weight in order to calculate the BMI. A healthy BMI number is 25 or less. I think this is a number people should keep in mind in order to modify their habits to try and reach a normality in these values.

Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – Where can viewers go for more information on what we discussed here today?

Dr. Rodriguez Cleveland Clinic – Absolutely. They can go to There is very good information there and they can go and visit that frequently, and get all these numbers, all the information, all the risk factors that could be modified to prevent heart disease.

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