New guidlines to protect your heart

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The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology are teaming to release a new set of guidelines designed to protect our hearts.

The new recommendations stress what is most critical to preventing heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases. The guidelines include a mix of healthy eating, exercise, and prescription drugs.

Dr. Steve Nissen a cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic says the new guidelines will allow more people to begin taking statins to lower their cholesterol. "When you have drugs that are that effective and quite safe it makes sense to treat more people. It will be difficult to know how many more, but it's probably millions of additional Americans will be taking these drugs in the future." Said Dr. Nissen.

Included in this group will be anyone between the ages of 40 and 75 with Type-2 Diabetes.

The guidelines also stress the importance of a heart-healthy diet that is low in saturated fats, trans fats, and sodium.  They're also recommending at least 40-minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity three to four times a week.

Dr. Nissen said, "The guidelines are very clear that the first defense is to eat a healthy diet, to exercise regularly, and to keep your body weight, you know, to the normal level."  They include information to help healthcare providers better identify people who may be at cardiovascular risk or are having trouble managing their cholesterol levels.

There's also a section on obesity, which stresses individualized plans and changing behaviors.

"The reality is it is a disease of lifestyle and we have not been very successful in changing the lifestyle of people with obesity. Now, the new guidelines suggest some approaches. They suggest that there's no magic diet and I like that." concluded Dr. Nissen.

The full report "Guidelines on the assessment of cardiovascular risk" is available online