You know what you’re supposed to do to prevent heart disease. But do you know why these commonplace tips actually help? Take our 5 W’s of Heart Health Quiz to test your knowledge. Answers can be found at the bottom of the article.
1. When is consuming sodium healthy for your heart?
A. All the time. The more high-sodium foods you consume, the better your health.
B. Minimally. Consuming extra sodium can lead to a rise in blood pressure.
C. Never, avoiding salt at all costs is crucial for preventing heart disease.
D. Whenever it feels right. Eating salt has no affect on my heart’s health
2. What are the benefits of aspirin to the heart?
A. Prevents a heart attack.
B. Increases your chance of surviving a heart attack.
C. Reduces your risk of a second heart attack.
D. All of the above.
3. Why is a cigarette smoker at greater risk for heart attack?
A. The smoke passes from the lungs to the heart, making it beat slower or faster.
B. Smoking can damage blood vessels and cause clots, potentially leading to heart attack.
C. A life-long smoker is more likely to have a heart attack than someone who has been smoking for a few years because it builds up.
D. Smoking does not affect a person’s heart health.
4. Where should you have your cholesterol checked?
A. Do a home cholesterol check.
B. Drive to the ER to get an emergency cholesterol test.
C. Have a doctor perform a cholesterol test.
D. Let a neighbor take the cholesterol reading.
5. Who is your most important partner for your heart health?
A. Your mother.
B. Your true love.
C. Your kids.
D. Your primary care physician.
5 W’s of Heart Health Answers
Answer B: When you consume foods that are high in sodium (salt), your body holds extra water to remove the extra sodium from your body. For some people, this causes a rise in blood pressure. Your heart has to work harder to keep this excess fluid moving.
However, reducing sodium in your diet is more than hiding the table salt. According to the American Heart Association, 75% of the sodium we consume is hidden in processed foods like soups, canned foods and deli meat. Be sure to consume more fresh fruits and vegetables and read food labels to see how much sodium they contain.
Answer D: The chemicals in aspirin interfere with your blood’s clotting action. This property can help prevent a heart attack or increase your chances of surviving one.
Most heart attacks occur when the blood supply to part of your heart muscle is blocked. When your blood vessels are narrowed from atherosclerosis (the buildup of fatty deposits and other substances in your arteries), one of these fatty deposits (a plaque) in the wall of the vessel can burst. Your platelets (your blood’s clotting cells) respond quickly by forming a blood clot. This blood clot can prevent blood flow to the heart and cause a heart attack. Because aspirin “thins” the blood, it helps prevent blood clots from forming.
That’s why the American Heart Association recommends that people at high risk of heart attack take a daily low-dose of aspirin and that heart attack survivors regularly take low-dose aspirin. Also taking an aspirin during the early stages of a heart attack greatly improves the chance of survival.
However, you should not start aspirin therapy without first talking with your doctor. The risks and benefits of aspirin therapy are different for each person.
Answer B: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking damages blood vessels, causing them to thicken and grow narrower. This makes your heart beat fast, your blood pressure rise, and clots can form. A heart attack occurs when a clot blocks the blood flow to you heart. When this happens, your heart can’t get enough oxygen. This causes damages to the heart muscle, and part of the heart muscle can die.
Answer C: It’s best to have your family doctor run your cholesterol test. Overall risk factors such as your age, family history, smoking history and high blood pressure must be considered when interpreting your results — and your family physician is most likely to have all that information. Once you know your numbers, your doctor should recommend a treatment and prevention plan, as well as follow-up testing to make sure the plan is getting you to your cholesterol goals.
Answer D: Although our families offer great support when it comes to living a heart healthy life, it’s your primary care provider who is your true hero. Seeing your doctor regularly and having heart-to-heart conversations about what is right for you will help you to lower your risk factors.
Your doctor will also help make sure you have the regular screenings you need to stay healthy. View our handy reference guide that explains what results of these screenings mean.