Black Americans are 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease, however, new insights may provide some details into how you can protect yourself. New guidelines detailing how to care for people with heart disease come with some easy-to-grasp warnings for patients.
The chronic coronary disease guidelines from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology, published Thursday in the AHA journal Circulation, are no incremental update, said Dr. Salim Virani, chairperson of the expert panel that rewrote them.
“It’s actually a new guideline in that everything that needed to be evaluated in terms of evidence was reviewed, and all the recommendations were rewritten,” said Virani, vice provost of research and a professor of medicine at Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan.
Coronary disease includes various conditions that trace back to the buildup of plaque in artery walls that limits blood flow to the heart. That includes coronary artery disease, angina, heart attack and care after a procedure to open a blocked heart artery.
The guidelines cover topics ranging from exercise to cholesterol management to bypass surgery. “This is pulling everything together as a one-stop shop for providers who take care of these kinds of patients,” according to Dr. Kristin Newby, the writing panel’s vice chairperson.
From that “one-stop shop,” here are six warnings for people with coronary disease – plus an overall message to embrace.
1. Avoid trans fat
“Trans fats aren’t good for anybody,” says Newby, a professor of medicine and cardiology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. But people with coronary disease need to be extra careful.
Of all the fats and oils used in cooking, Newby says, trans fats are the most likely to cause plaque in the arteries. In people with existing disease, trans fat has been linked to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke, higher death rates from those problems, and a higher risk of premature death.
Artificial trans fats are liquid oils that have been turned into a solid. Margarine and shortening are common examples. The Food and Drug Administration has banned food manufacturers from using a once-common source of trans fat: partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. But in some places, trans fats still show up in restaurant deep-fat fryers and elsewhere.
Trans fats also occur naturally in beef, lamb and butterfat, but the guidelines say these pose