Doctor offers tips to keep your heart healthy

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Indiana's cigarette tax is one of the lowest in the nation and it appears it’s going to stay there.

It’s a disappointment for Cardiologist Dr. Edward Fry, who had hoped the Indiana lawmakers would increase the tax, which could in turn reduce the number of Hoosiers who smoke.

However, even smoking can’t be counted as the contributing factor to a dangerous trend that has appeared.

“For the first time in 40 years, the mortality rate for cardiovascular disease went up. We’re concerned that that is the late effects of what we’re seeing: a rise in the incidents of diabetes impacted by the obesity epidemic.”

Fry says a couple of simple strategies can help stem this dangerous trend.

First, know your numbers- beginning with your fasting blood sugar. It should register below 100. Two hours after eating, it should be less than 140. Get to know your body mass index or BMI. If it’s above 25, you’re considered overweight. If it’s over 30, you’re considered obese.

Cholesterol numbers are important too, especially the bad type: LDL.

“If your LDL cholesterol is above 130, that’s something that certainly warrants evaluation,” said Dr. Fry.

Last but certainly not least, check your blood pressure. Make sure it’s in the normal range.

“More recent studies suggest that your cardiovascular risks are lower if there’s a target of 120 on the top and 80 on the bottom,” said Dr. Fry.

To achieve good numbers, Dr. Fry suggests Hoosiers follow the rule of KISS: "Keep It Simple, Stupid."

“That really boils down to reducing total calorie intake, know your calorie intake by keeping a food diary. Reduce total number of carbohydrates and combine that with exercise,” said Dr. Fry.

If you can’t get your cholesterol down, Fry says there is a class of cholesterol drugs which may be coming out. They will be expensive, but apparently very effective.

they are called PCSK9 inhibitors. Look for them to reach the market fairly soon.

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