Ankle/brachial index: measures the amount of blood flow in the arteries carrying blood to the lower extremities (legs). A ratio is derived by dividing the systolic blood pressure taken in the ankle by the systolic blood pressure taken in the arm. A ratio less than 1.0 is an indicator of vascular disease.
Atherosclerosis: narrowing of the arteries due to the buildup of plaques made of cholesterol.
Blood pressure: the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. It is written as two numbers, such as 122/78 mm Hg. The top number (systolic pressure) is when the heart beats. The bottom number (diastolic pressure) is when the heart is at rest.
Body fat measurement (body composition): determining the percent of fat to lean body mass using measures of height, weight, and skinfold thickness.
Body Mass Index (BMI): Body Mass Index or BMI is an estimate of obesity using a ratio of height to weight. A BMI score of less than 18.5 is considered underweight; a score of 18.5 to 24.0 is considered normal weight; a score of 25.0 to 29.0 is considered overweight; and a score of 30.0 and above is considered obese.
C-reactive protein: a protein that increases in the blood in response to inflammation. It is a marker for increased risk for heart disease and is often elevated years before a person has a first heart attack or stroke.
Depression: a mood disorder marked by loss of interest or pleasure in living. Symptoms include persistent sadness, hopelessness or tearfulness; persistent fatigue; persistent feelings of guilt or self-criticism; a sense of worthlessness; inability to concentrate; decreased interest in daily activities; changes in appetite or body weight; insomnia or excessive sleep.
Diabetes: a disease caused by increased blood sugar. Increased blood sugar is caused by the body not making insulin (Type I diabetes) or the body’s inability to secrete and/or use insulin (Type II diabetes). Diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease.
Diastolic Dysfunction: Abnormal function of the heart during its relaxation phase (diastole).
Exercise: physical activities to maintain or increase muscle tone and strength. Physical exercise for 30 minutes on most, if not all, days of the week is recommended to prevent heart disease.
Heart disease 10-year risk assessment: a tool utilized to estimate a patient’s potential to have a heart attack or coronary death based on personal risk factors. The tool utilizes data from the Framingham Heart Study.
HDL: high-density lipoprotein, the “good” cholesterol.
Hemoglobin A1C: a blood test that is a good indicator as to how well a woman has controlled her diabetes in the previous five to six weeks. A level less than 7 percent is recommended.
Metabolic Syndrome: a group of metabolic risk factors in one person. Metabolic syndrome increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. You are also at increased risk of developing diabetes within five to 15 years after being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
Prediabetes: a condition where blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are consistently higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes.
Triglycerides: a type of fat in the bloodstream that increases the process of atherosclerosis.