Matters of the Heart: Understand your risk for heart disease on February 13, 2018

Matters of the Heart: Understand your risk for heart disease

Your heart (and your patient’s hearts), one of the most important organs in your body, receives recognition this month. Not for all of the hard work it does each and every day pumping blood throughout your body, but to raise awareness of heart disease.

The American Heart Association reports that 1 in 3 Americans die from heart disease with 92.1 million adults living with some form of it. Show your heart some love this month by learning the risk factors and what you can do to lower risk.

While some factors, like genetics, aren’t modifiable or controllable, it’s important to protect yourself against heart disease by identifying your risks and assessing your health status.

“Being overweight, inactive, smoking, high stress, and family history increase the risk of heart disease and heart attack,” said George Waters, board certified cardiologist at Sturdy Cardiology Associates.

If you have an unhealthy diet chock full of saturated fat, salt and cholesterol, you’re putting yourself at risk for the development of heart disease and obesity. Even more so, if you don’t engage in physical exercise, you have an increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, risk of blood clots and heart disease.

It is incredibly important to embrace the goal of encouraging your patients to quit smoking and we can help. MD Spiro is here to work with you on your smoking cessation programs to help assist in having your patients quit for good this time!

Knowing the symptoms of a heart attack and identifying your risk are the first steps in prevention.

“You must also work to incorporate healthy lifestyle habits,” Waters said. “Eating a healthy low-saturated fat diet, getting regular exercise, quitting smoking, and seeing your doctor on a regular basis are all important steps in prevention.”

Be sure to include fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, nuts and legumes into your diet while limiting sodium, sugar-sweetened beverages, processed meats and saturated fats.

Commit to a small goal of physical exercise each day — 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day as well as strength and stretching workouts can improve heart health.

If you are a smoker, quit. Quitting smoking reduces your risk for heart attack each year you remain a nonsmoker.

As a primary care provider, it is important to market to your patients to schedule their annual exam and provide them the tools to quit smoking. These exams will provide the monitoring of their overall health status, any change can prompt further screening and necessary follow-up care.

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