Heart to Heart from Signature HealthCARE
Heart to Heart from Signature HealthCARE
As we continue to blaze through this exciting year, we are fast approaching the day to celebrate the efforts of St. Valentine, whose legend continues to inspire all about romance and love, but more importantly, chocolates, roses and red hearts!
As we perpetuate the aura of Valentine’s Day this year, let’s also try our best to use this opportunity to better understand and share the importance of a healthy heart for a happy life. Though happiness, love and celebrations can enhance well-being, a great deal more is needed to strengthen your heart and it’s functions.
Regular Physical Activity
It’s no hidden secret that regular activity is the best prevention against heart disease and heart attacks. A lot of credible research has shown: the more you invest in activity, the safer you are against heart attacks. The Surgeon General recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of weekly activity to impact your risk. If you fail to hit the gym, remember, any activity such as simply walking, moving your arms with weights in your hands or anything similar, is better than no activity. Being still and sedentary is the most harmful habit. Of course, if you have joint problems and/or back issues, it’s recommended you ask your doctor how you can become more mobile.
My pick for the Best Valentine’s Day gift to Improve Physical Activity:
A FitBit Tracker, or a similar wearable device to keep track of their steps. Remember, the closer you get to 10,000 steps a day goal, the safer you will be from heart attacks!
Another adjustable factor that can impact our heart attack risk is our focus on what goes into our bodies. We know now that sugars are one of the most important elements that poorly impact our health. They contribute to weight gain and other metabolic problems that predispose us to diabetes and heart disease. In addition to sugars, the relationship between cholesterol and heart disease is evolving. I recommend limiting the amount of saturated fats, plus eating more high fiber diets that are low in sodium. The lowest hanging fruit would be to cut out sweets, desserts and more importantly sodas including diet sodas.
My pick for the Best Valentine’s Day Gift to Improve Diet:
A cookbook for healthy options!
Better Control of Your Chronic Disease
We have a high prevalence of chronic disease such as diabetes, arthritis, asthma and so forth. But the most devastating disease in regard to heart attacks is high blood pressure. We know that 1 in 3 Americans have high blood pressure, but the majority of patients have no symptoms, which makes it harder to diagnose. We should make sure to take advantage of free opportunities available at our pharmacies and grocery stores to check our blood pressure. If you do have high blood pressure, please make sure to take a reading a few times every week and note it for your physician. Avoid high salt diets and exercise regularly. Take any new symptoms such as numbness, new headaches, slurred speech, loss of balance, fainting etc. very seriously.
My pick for the best Valentine’s Day Gift to Improve Blood Pressure:
A blood pressure monitor with or without a Bluetooth connection, for automated reporting with your phone app.
Take Control of Your Health & Be More Engaged
As a physician, I have a responsibility to provide the highest quality of information and treatments to my patients, but on the same note, my patients have the responsibility to take control of their health matters and be engaged. The most important thing you can do to be engaged is to ask a lot of questions when you visit your doctor. Write a list of concerns so you don’t forget what’s on your mind. Be careful not to believe everything you read on social media. Ask your physician to recommend a book or two on how you can better take care of yourself. And always make sure you take your medications on time. Additionally, any medicine you take, make sure you know why you need to take it and what it’s side effects may be. And here’s something to remember: the majority of advertised oral supplements are expensive and have no proven benefit to help you. Don’t waste your money!
My pick for Best Valentine’s Day Gift to Improve Health Engagement:
There are several engaging phone apps that can help your loved one take better control of their life. A couple of suggestions includes: Glucose Buddy, FitBit, etc.
*These apps (and apps like these) can be found on the Google Play & App Store.
I hope you will use this Valentine’s Day to not only refresh your cherished vows, but also to focus on strengthening your heart health. I also hope that, for this year’s celebration, instead of spending a lot on chocolates, you will empower your loved one by buying them a heart healthy gift.
Signature HealthCARE is excited to partner with you in celebrating this year’s Heart month, and offers the best cardiac rehab in its facilities in case your loved ones need rehabilitation and recovery after a heart attack or a heart failure episode. At Signature HealthCARE facilities, our staff is equipped to teach you and guide you toward healthy habits that strengthen your heart and help get you back on your feet to a purpose filled life.
Happy Heart Month!
Arif Nazir, MD
CEO Signature HealthCARE Medical Partners
CMO Signature HealthCARE