Be Smart. Love Your Heart. You get one heart. Treat it smart with a heart-healthy mindset and lifestyle.

February 1, 2018

Your heart is one of the hardest working muscles you’ve got. It ticks around the clock to keep you alive and only gets a break when you’re relaxing or sleeping. With so much riding on this essential muscle, it’s important to treat it smart. According to the American Heart Association, one in four people die of heart disease every year. And it’s not playing favorites – heart disease is the number one killer of men and women. In fact, more women die of heart disease than from most cancers combined.

This February marking American Heart Month, there’s no better time to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to keep your heart healthy for the long run. Preventing heart disease means making smart choices today that can pay off for the rest of your life. Anyone – at any age – can benefit from these simple steps:

Eat a healthy diet.
Eating a diet of lower-calorie, nutrient-rich foods can help you control your weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure, which helps lower your risk of heart disease. Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, and nuts and legumes; and limit your intake of foods with saturated fat, trans fats, sodium, sugar and red meat. If you do choose to eat red meat, make sure you’re using the leanest cut you can find.

Stay physically active.
Your activity level is actually your greatest potential risk factor. Low fitness levels come with double the risk of heart disease. The good news is that your heart benefits from every type of activity. Try to complete at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or a combination of the two, every week. Most importantly, just keep moving!

Know your numbers.
A big part of staying on top of your heart health is being aware of your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and working to keep them at low-risk levels. Be sure to get your levels checked regularly and talk to your primary care provider about your numbers and how to keep them in a healthy range.

When you act early to stay on top of your heart health, you can help reduce your risk for heart disease, and you’ll be in a better position to catch any potential issues and work together with your provider to keep your heart healthy for the long run.

Stay Ahead of PVD
Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) affects about 12% of the general population and at least 20% of older adults over the age of 60.  PVD has profound effects on your lifestyle as it can significantly impair your functional ability to walk. 

If you can answer yes to any of the following questions and you have not already been diagnosed with PVD, you may be at risk.  Do you smoke? Do you have diabetes? Do you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol? Do you have heart disease? Do you have pain in your legs at rest or with activity?  The most common signs of PVD are cramps and tiredness in your legs when you walk, but after resting it goes away; foot pain that keeps you from getting a restful night of sleep and/or skin wounds on your feet or toes that are slow to heal.

The Heart and Vascular Center will be offering free PVD screenings on Thursday, February 22nd from 3:00-5:00pm.  These screenings will include an ankle brachial index test (ABI) that will be reviewed by Cardiologist, Dr. Fahad Iqbal.  To qualify for the screening, you must answer yes to one of the risk factors listed above.

The screening is free, but does require registration.  Please call 920-262-4449 to register today!  Space is limited!