Now that the Super Bowl is over, your team might have won or not, and today is Valentine's Day is time to start thinking about your heart.
So, you know that your heart is essential but do you realize just how much work it does for us?
Your heart is one of the body's most essential organs. It beats roughly once per second for all lifetime, making it one of the key components to life itself! The blood flowing through each beat carries oxygen and nutrients throughout our bodies while also delivering waste products away from their destination inlet/other organs like the kidneys. Without this vital muscle-driven function, nothing would get done. Heart disease has been the leading cause of death in America for many years.
When you think of the most common causes of death in America, the heart disease usually tops every list. But there are some things people should know about these conditions: you can prevent heart disease with simple lifestyle changes; if we make changes early enough, prevention will often heal us better than a cure could ever hope.
Do you want to live longer?
Consider these activities that will enhance your heart health and extend your lifespan!
The easiest way to improve your heart-healthy habits is by moving. You can do this in 30 minutes five times per week with just a straightforward task: going outside and getting some fresh air!
As a bonus, exercise will also extend lifespan because it improves blood flow throughout the body while decreasing inflammation levels associated with aging skin (and who doesn't want younger-looking skin?). Everyone should find a way to plan some exercise into their life.
Walk on a treadmill while watching TV: Ozark, Emily in Paris, and Squid Games are great shows. There's nothing wrong with binge-watching a series while at the same time decreasing your bad cholesterol levels.
Exercise with a friend: want to talk crypto, new investing strategies, or listen to your favorite serial killer podcast? Call your friend. Share your AirPods and improve your health one step at a time.
Go to YouTube and watch an exercise video. These are free and can be done from home. Here are two of my heart-healthy favorites:
a) Leslie Sansone: Walk Away The Pounds:
b) The Body Project:
REACH AND MAINTAIN A HEART-HEALTHY WEIGHT
Your heart works much harder if you're overweight. There's only so much work it can do before it gives up. Individuals with excess weight tend to have more significant amounts of blood, making the heart pump harder and leading to heart failure over time. Because the heart works harder, its muscle size increases, a condition called ventricular hypertrophy.
Second, excess weight is linked to sleep apnea, which causes lung problems and high blood pressure, both of which can eventually lead to heart failure.
Reminder: "Having a big heart doesn't imply that you are more loving."
Smoking is dangerous, but you already know that. Among other things, smoking damages your blood vessels and your blood cells. Smokers are at a much greater risk of suffering a heart attack. Look, quitting is very difficult; that's why there's so much help. Prescription Medicine like Wellbutrin (Bupropion) or Chantix can help you stop. Combined with nicotine patches and nicotine gums, these medications can increase your chances of success.
Quick Tip: Buy cinnamon sticks and keep them in your pocket. Anytime your urge to smoke, put one in between your fingers.
Stress takes a toll on your body. There is a significant link between stress and heart disease, even if the mechanism isn't fully understood. If you experience stress daily, it's critical to find strategies for dealing with it.
Get the proper amount of sleep. Multiple studies have shown that too much or too little sleep can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The adequate amount of sleep appears to be between seven and nine hours for adults. More or less than this can impact your heart and overall health negatively.
MAINTAIN A NORMAL BLOOD PRESSURE
When you have high blood pressure, the lining of your blood vessels is damaged, creating scar tissue and attracting cholesterol and fat deposits.
High blood pressure is dangerous but doesn't feel uncomfortable. Suddenly, you develop chest pain, or a massive headache is when you notice it. It is a silent killer.
There are other ways to treat high blood pressure. As a primary care physician, I am happy to help you. The consequences of high blood pressure are dangerous and can lead to heart attack, stroke, or death.
A heart-healthy diet can avoid many issues that increase the risk of heart disease and the risk of high blood pressure.
Learn how to read nutrition labels.
The best diet is one that meets all of your nutrient needs while still maintaining a body mass.
Avoid processed sugars. Sugar is also labeled as glucose, fructose, sucrose, corn syrup, corn sweetener, ethyl maltol, dextrose, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup.
Eat what you already know is good for you. A healthy diet doesn't have to be complicated.
Some of the best heart-healthy foods include berries, heart-healthy whole grains, fish oil, nuts, beans, leafy greens, dark chocolate, fruits and vegetables, seeds, plant-based foods.
Here is a really cool video that explains heart disease:
Why wait to have a heart attack to get healthy?
BECOME A MEMBER OF SHINE DIRECT PRIMARY CARE
I can help you collect the data needed to determine your risks of heart disease.
A cookie-cutter approach does not work. The regular cholesterol blood test does not give us all the data to know if you have a healthy heart. I use tests like the NMR Lipoprotein test, LpA, Calcium Score Screening Heart Scan, HS-CRP, antioxidant screening to get a more accurate picture.
You will need more than a 5-minute visit with your physician to understand all of this. A Shine DPC membership covers all of your visits, and if you have a question, you can text me directly.
Click here to enroll in my program or text (239) 237-5688 for more information.
Heart Health Month is an excellent time to contact me, Dr. Romero, your new primary care physician!