Become a Heart Health Success Story
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. It beats out all other diseases for this distinction among both men and women. That’s why it’s so important to know where you stand as far as your risk for heart disease. A cardiac risk profile (CRP) gives you this information, while an HRA (health risk appraisal) puts it to practical use. Both of these tools are available free of charge to Federal employees.
Share Your Success Story
Heart to Heart
The Federal Privacy Act protects the results of your CRP and HRA, but if your CRP/HRA experience is making a difference in your life, you might help others by telling them about it. Has it already made a difference? Is it shaping your future plans?—or that of a friend? We encourage anyone who would like to talk about their experience to email a short statement to the Center for Health Communications. With your permission, we will share some of those stories online to encourage others to take care of their hearts.
CRP: Getting a Clearer Picture
A cardiac risk profile (or CRP) can give you a snapshot of some of the factors that can put you most at risk for heart disease—things like elevated blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose. You can get your CRP from your health care provider or, if you’re a Federal employee, from the health unit at your worksite, where available.
For more information on CRP, go to www.FOH.hhs.gov/CRP.
HRA: Getting Guidance
An HRA is a short (20-minute) survey that you can take online from your own desk that reviews your family health history and daily lifestyle practices. Combined with results from your CRP, it will help map out potential health risks, including those affecting your heart. That will give you the power to make your own decisions to lower your risk of heart disease.
For more information on HRAs, go to www.FOH.hhs.gov/HRA.
So, make an appointment with your FOH Health Unit or health care provider to take your CRP today. You can then use the results from the CRP to plug into your HRA.
Lower Your Risk to Create Your Success Story
Some things that may lower your risk for heart disease include:
Becoming more active
A good place to start is with at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity, like a brisk walk, every day. This can be broken down into smaller segments (for example, three segments of ten minutes each) as long as they add up to 30 minutes or more per day. Find some physical activity that you like doing and enjoy the many health benefits of getting physical.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
Use our BMI calculator to the right to see if you are overweight. If you’re overweight (a BMI of 25 or higher), go to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's (NHLBI) web page for detailed information on losing weight.
There are many smoking cessation programs available. In fact, there may be one at your worksite health clinic. For information on cost-free tobacco cessation support for Federal employees, go to www.FOH.hhs.gov/QUIT.
Limiting alcohol consumption
If you drink alcohol, a general rule of thumb for better health is to keep it to one drink or less per day, if you’re a woman, and two drinks or less per day, if you’re a man. For more information on alcohol and heart disease, visit the American Heart Association’s page on Alcohol and Cardiovascular Disease.
For some, lifestyle changes may not have a big enough influence on lowering risk for heart disease. Talk to your healthcare provider about managing these conditions with medication, when necessary.
Know Your Numbers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends tracking your body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels to know where you stand regarding your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other medical disorders.
Body Mass Index
Looking at your BMI can give the average person a good ballpark figure of their weight status and if any adjustments are needed. Use our BMI calculator to get your BMI.
Blood pressure is a quick and easy measure of your heart and vascular health. Knowing these numbers can be a lifesaver. Systolic is the measure of pressure when the heart beats. It's usually the higher number. Diastolic is the measure of the pressure when the heart is relaxed.
|Desirable||less than 120 mmHG||less than 80 mmHG|
|At risk (pre-hypertension)||120-139 mmHG||80-89 mmHG|
|High||140 mmHG or higher||90 mmHG or higher|
Cholesterol and other blood lipids
Your cholesterol levels are another important indicator of heart health. A simple blood test can measure the different amounts of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. Your health care provider can then determine what steps should be taken to lower them, if they’re elevated.
|Total cholesterol||Less than 200 mg/dL|
|LDL (“bad” cholesterol)||Less than 100 mg/dL|
|HDL ("good" cholesterol)||40 mg/dL or higher|
|Triglycerides||Less than 150 mg/dL|
A test of your blood sugar levels after you’ve not eaten for 8 hours or more (a fasting glucose test) can give your health care provider an idea if you’re at risk for diabetes or may already be showing signs of the disease.
|Desirable||99 mg/dL or lower|
|At risk (pre-diabetes)||100 to 125|
|Diabetes||126 or above|
You may wonder when’s a good time to start making changes to lowering your risk for heart disease. Why not right now? All it takes is some small changes in your attitude and the way you approach life. Enjoy your new life and encourage others with your success story.