Vicki Barron: ‘Know your risk factors’ |

Vicki Barron: ‘Know your risk factors’

To the editor:

The key to preventing cardiovascular disease is to know your risk factors and learn how to manage them.

Major risk factors for cardiovascular disease are divided into two categories: Risk factors that can be changed and risk factors that cannot be changed.

Major risk factors that can be changed are: tobacco smoking, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, being obese and overweight, and diabetes.

Risk factors that cannot be changed are: increasing age, gender (males have a higher risk of having a heart attack than females), and heredity.

September is National Cholesterol Education Month and it is a good time for you to have a cardiovascular screening to learn your cardiovascular risk.

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The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association is offering free screenings this month on Mondays at the office in Steamboat and Tuesdays at the office in Craig. Call Karla Larsen at 875-1880 to schedule your free cardiovascular screening.

Cardiovascular screenings can identify your risk factors and potentially decrease or eliminate your risk.

These screenings are recommended for anyone older than 20 with "normal-risk" once every five years. If you have any of the following identified risks, more frequent screenings may be recommended: total cholesterol higher than 200, males older age 45 and females older than 50, your HDL (good) cholesterol is less than 40 mg/dL for men and less than 50 mg/dL if you are a female, or if you have other risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke.

Also, if you're past age 20, you should have your blood pressure checked at least every two years if it is less than 120/80 mm. Your BMI (body mass index) should be checked at each health care visit and your waist circumference should be evaluated as needed. Your health care provider will also discuss smoking, physical activity and diet with you on each visit.

For more information, log onto our website at, or call us at 824-8233 in Craig or 879-1632 in Steamboat Springs.

Vicki Barron

Community Health Educator, Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association

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