Local doctor discusses heart health ahead of World Heart Day

Dr. Linda Calhoun, with Novant Health, spoke with WECT about cardiovascular disease and how to prevent it.
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 10:48 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - World Health Day is set to occur on Friday, Sept. 29, and to promote heart health, a local doctor shared tips and facts that some may not know when it comes to keeping hearts healthy.

Dr. Linda Calhoun, with Novant Health, spoke with WECT about cardiovascular disease and how to prevent it.

“Well cardiovascular disease is a big basket term, it really is a spectrum of diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels,” Dr. Calhoun explained. “So it includes coronary heart disease, heart attacks, heart blockages, heart failure, arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation and sudden death. It includes valvular heart disease, so it’s a big spectrum of diseases.”

Understanding your risk of developing cardiovascular disease can begin with recognizing the medical history of relatives and conditions that you may already experience.

“Well, when you look at a person that has, you know, first of all, if you have a first-degree relative, a mother, father, sister or brother, that has heart disease, then you’re more likely to have cardiovascular disease,” Calhoun said. “But there are many silent risk factors, many risk factors, many of them are silent, that contribute: hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, inactivity, unhealthy weight, unhealthy diet, stress, excessive alcohol use, these are all kind of contributing factors.”

In addition to recognizing your own cardiovascular disease risk, taking action to prevent development is crucial.

“You really want to be aware, detect high blood pressure, know your numbers, be able to be aware if you have high cholesterol, high glycemic index,” Calhoun added. “Know whether or not you have a problem with any of those factors and treat the factors is not just knowing those factors.

“And then, you know, try to get a healthy weight, try to exercise. 150 minutes of moderate exercise can reduce cardiovascular disease by 30 percent and 27 percent reduction in diabetes. Controls, you know, control stress, try to treat depression and things like that. I think just trying to live a healthier lifestyle helps prevention.”