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December 2003

How to Be Proactive with Your Doctor

Part of taking care of your heart is becoming a proactive participant in your health care and communicating with your doctor. Following are some of the questions you should ask your physician to determine your risk for cardiovascular disease.

What is my blood pressure and how does it compare with new national guidelines?

The National Heart Blood and Lung Institute (NHBLI) issued new blood pressure guidelines in May 2003 that state the following:1

less than 120/
less than 80 mm Hg

80-89 mm Hg

Stage 1 hypertension:
90-99 mm Hg

Stage 2 hypertension:
at or greater than 160/
at or greater than 100 mm Hg
It is crucial that blood pressure remain in the normal range.

What is my total cholesterol and lipoprotein profile?

A lipoprotein profile measures total cholesterol; high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which helps prevent cholesterol from building up in the arteries; low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which causes cholesterol to build up in the arteries; and triglycerides, which are another form of fat in the blood.2
The following guidelines have been established by conventional doctors to assess cardiovascular risk:

Total cholesterol:
less than 200 mg/dL is desirable
200-239 is borderline high
240 and above is high

less than 100 mg/dL is optimal
100-129 is near optimal
130-159 is borderline high
160-189 is high
190 and above is very high

less than 40 mg/dL is
considered a risk factor
more than 60 lowers your risk

Under 100 mg/dL is ideal
150-199 is borderline high
200 or more is high

If I’m taking a statin, should I be taking Coenzyme Q10 supplements?

While millions of Americans take statins to reduce their cholesterol levels, many do not realize these drugs can also lower levels of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). This enzyme produces energy in cells and helps the heart muscle function. Consequently, if you are taking a statin drug, you may want to talk to your doctor about taking a CoQ10 supplement.6


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