How can I take care of my heart naturally?
How can I take care of my heart naturally?
Heart disease is, unfortunately common. But just because you have heart disease - or risk factors for heart disease - that doesn’t mean your life will be filled with medicines and surgeries. In fact, there are plenty of natural heart care options you can incorporate into your daily routine to improve not only your cardiovascular health but your overall health as well.
Natural Heart Care
Maintaining good heart health naturally begins with these simple lifestyle changes:
- Eat a healthy diet. Fill up on vegetables and fruits, cut back on processed foods, and reduce your intake of unhealthy fats, refined sugar, and sodium (salt). Check food labels, and keep an eye on cholesterol, which is a primary cause of atherosclerosis (“hardening” of the arteries) and heart disease. Include plenty of healthy fats - fish and nuts are great sources - and lots of whole grains.
- Lose those extra pounds. Being overweight or obese can significantly increase your risk for developing heart disease, and often, people who are overweight will have other heart disease risk factors, like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Obesity can also increase your risks for other diseases, including arthritis, diabetes, and even depression.
- Be more active. Plenty of studies have demonstrated the important role of exercise in maintaining a healthy heart. Exercise improves your blood flow to your heart gets the oxygen and nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Plus, being more physically active makes it easier to shed excess weight, which can also increase your risk of developing heart disease. And finally, regular exercise can even help you reduce stress, which has been implicated in a whole host of diseases, including heart disease. You don’t have to be a pro athlete to reap the benefits of exercise. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise (like walking), five days a week to improve overall cardiovascular health.
- Quit smoking. Smoking is bad for your heart, bad for your veins - bad for you. Quitting isn’t easy, but there are products and support groups - including ones that “meet” online - to give you the help and motivation you need to be successful. Make quitting a priority.
- Have your heart health evaluated. It’s important to have an annual physical, and it’s also important to see Dr. Stevens for a routine screening, especially if you have a personal or family history of heart disease, or if you have other risk factors, like smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or older age. Dr. Stevens can perform tests that can provide a clear picture of your heart health, and your doctor can also provide you with more tips to help you lead a heart-healthy life.
Learn more about natural heart care.
At Premier Heart and Vein Care, our cardiology team provides state-of-the-art care based on each patient’s individual needs. To learn what you can do to improve your cardiovascular health, call Premier Heart and Vein Care at 1-805-979-4777 and schedule a consultation today.
What is the Best Exercise for Heart Health?
Most cardiology doctors would agree that good heart care includes a nutritious diet and exercise. A heart-healthy diet is high in dietary fiber, low in salt, and replaces unhealthy fats with healthy polyunsaturated fats, found in certain fish, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Exercise is important to a healthy heart because the heart is a muscle, which means regular exercise helps the heart muscle stay strong.
Exercise also keeps weight under control and helps prevent artery damage from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar, all of which can lead to heart attack.
Anyone hoping to improve his or her overall cardiovascular fitness should perform 150 minutes or more per week of moderate exercise or at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, according to the American Heart Association, or combine moderate and vigorous exercise. Many people find it effective and convenient to exercise for a half hour a day, five times per week.
Certain exercises are better for heart health than are other exercises, though.
Best Exercise for Optimal Heart Health
The best exercise for heart health gets the heart pumping and the blood moving. The effects of pumping the heart muscle has the same benefit as pumping any muscle – the exercise makes the muscle stronger and more efficient at doing its job. Exercises that stimulate circulation keep blood flowing. Poor circulation allows to pool and clot; blood clots can travel to the arteries supplying blood to the heart to cause a heart attack.
Aerobic exercise promotes good cardiovascular health by improving circulation, which lowers blood pressure and heart rate. Aerobic workouts also help lower weight and decrease blood sugar levels, which reduces the risk of diabetes, which increases the risk of heart disease.
Also known as “cardio” because of its cardiovascular benefits, aerobic exercise is an activity that causes you to breathe heavily. Muscles use oxygen to extract energy from the amino acids, carbohydrates and fatty acids in food.
Examples of aerobic exercise include running, bicycling, swimming, walking, hiking, dancing, cross-country skiing and kickboxing. Taking an aerobics class or working out on cardio machines also get the heart muscle pumping in beneficial ways.
For more information on the best exercise for heart health, consult with Dr. Stevens. Each person is a unique individual, so the best exercise for one person’s heart may not be the best exercise for another.
What not to eat when you have heart problems
If you have heart problems, you may be at risk of a variety of complications, some of which may even be fatal. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing heart-related complications. One of the most important changes you can make involves improvements to your diet.
What Not to Eat
Some of the foods you should avoid when you have heart problems include:
- Foods containing high fructose corn syrup - The liver doesn't metabolize fructose in the same way it metabolizes other sugars. When you consume large amounts of fructose, your body is more likely to produce new fat, which is hard on your heart. In addition, high fructose corn syrup raises your blood sugar, which leads to other problems.
- Foods that are refined or heavily processed - High levels of processing removes many of the components of food that are most nutritious, leaving behind only the harmful parts. In addition, processing usually adds ingredients to food that make it even more unhealthy, such as added sugar and/or sodium.
- Processed meats - Studies have shown that the preservatives and sodium in processed meat can worsen existing heart problems or contribute to the development of new heart problems.
- Foods high in cholesterol - When you eat too much cholesterol, you can develop cholesterol plaques inside your arteries. These plaques raise your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
Other Lifestyle Changes
In addition to eating healthy food, you can also make other lifestyle changes to improve your heart health. Exercising on a regular basis and finding ways to reduce your stress levels may lower the risk of heart-related complications. If you have heart problems, you should also take all of your prescribed medications as recommended and make regular appointments with your preventative cardiology specialist for heart care.
If you would like to learn more about managing heart problems, or if you think you may have a heart problem, please contact Premier Heart & Vein Care today to make an appointment.
Can You Detect Blocked Arteries From an ECG?
Cardiovascular problems are scary; simply not knowing enough about the health of your heart can lead to major medical problems later in life. Electrocardiography, the practice of measuring electrical signals to diagnose potential problems with the heart, gives medical staff a non-invasive way of reviewing the hearts’ activity. An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) refers to the actual test. While often used for many medical procedures, an ECG holds great potential for diagnosing cardiovascular problems.
Can an Electrocardiogram Detect a Heart Attack?
If it is believed you had a heart attack, your cardiologist may wish to have you undergo electrocardiography testing. This diagnostic testing, which involves running a test known as an electrocardiogram or EKG/ECG as it is sometimes called, can help provide your cardiologist with valuable information that shows the overall health of your heart.
It's an old adage that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. That's particularly true when it comes to heart and blood vessel disease. At Premier Heart and Vein Care, our cardiac specialists would much rather help our patients stay healthy than have to treat a problem, so we do our best to practice preventive cardiology. Preventive cardiology strategies fall into three groups: primordial, primary and secondary.
What Are the Symptoms of Heart Disease?
Heart disease a serious condition that can increase your risk of serious complications, such as a heart attack or stroke. If you have heart disease, you need to seek treatment from a cardiologist as soon as possible. Below is some information to help you understand heart disease and recognize the symptoms so you can catch it as early as possible.
What to Do if Heart Disease Runs in Your Family
If heart disease runs in your family, you may be nervous about your chances of developing this condition. However, having a family history of heart disease doesn't necessarily mean you will have a heart problem. Nonetheless, you need to be vigilant and proactive to protect your heart and remain as healthy as possible throughout your life.
Debunking Myths Associated with Electrocardiography Testing
The information doctors obtain from electrocardiography testing, such as EKG or ECG, can save lives. Unfortunately, many people are reluctant to undergo this type of testing because they believe the testing is dangerous, painful, or time consuming.
Debunking some of the myths and common misconceptions surrounding EKG or ECG testing will help patients who are seeing the cardiology and vein doctor at Premier Heart & Vein Care feel better about having to have this procedure performed.
Electrocardiography Testing is Extremely Time Consuming
People are often surprised to discover that EKGs and ECGs are some of the fastest tests. In fact, it will probably take more time for you to complete the check-in process and get prepared for the test than it will to have the actual test performed.
For the most part, the testing process associated with an EKG or ECG will take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. The real time consuming part of an EKG or ECG is the placement and removal of the electrobes. Placing and removing the electrobes can take almost as long as the actual test procedure.
EKG and ECG Testing Involves Shocking the Body with an Electrical Current
The electrobes that are placed all over the body during an EKG or ECG do not emit any type of electricity. This means you are not at risk of getting hurt from an electrical current. The purpose of the electrobes is to measure and record the electrical activity in the heart.
The EKG or ECG Testing Procedure is Painful
People automatically assume that because EKG or ECG testing measures electrical activity to the heart and there are a lot of electrobes involved that it will be painful, but it isn't. The entire testing process is painless.
While the testing process is pain free, there is a slight risk that you may experience some pain or irritation from the adhesive bandages used to hold the electrobes in place. If this should occur, topical cream can be applied to sooth any irritation, pain, or itching you experience.
Stress EKGs Cause Heart Attacks
Occasionally, a doctor may want to see how your heart reacts to physical or strenuous exercise. A stress EKG, sometimes called a stress test, may be performed. A huge misconception surrounding this type of testing is that it causes heart attacks. It doesn't.
A stress EKG is not what causes the heart attacks or the irregular heartbeat. It is the exercise or strenuous activity that causes the heart attack. The stress EKG is just monitoring and recording how the heart reacts.
Premier Heart & Vein Care can answer any questions you may have regarding electrocardiography testing. We are dedicated to providing you with the highest quality cardiovascular care. We want you to feel comfortable with the procedures that are being performed. Call us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ken Stevens to discuss and learn more about EKG or ECG testing.
Here's Why Preventive Cardiology Is Important for Your Health
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the the U.S., responsible for about 1 out of every 4 deaths that occur. Although heart disease tends to be thought of as a medical problem that only occurs at an older age or almost solely affects men, both of those assumptions are untrue - and could be dangerous to your health. In fact, heart disease can develop at any age, and heart disease is the top cause of death for both sexes. And what’s more, people with certain risk factors can be at a much greater risk for heart disease and the problems it can cause.
The good news: Preventive cardiology can help you reduce your risks of heart disease by identifying risk factors associated with the disease and providing you with the guidance and care you need to address those problems and improve your cardiovascular health.
Preventive Cardiology: What Is It?
Your heart is a muscle, and like any muscle, it needs to be kept in good shape in order to continue to function properly. Preventive cardiology starts with a thorough assessment of the heart and cardiovascular system, using an array of tests and evaluations, including:
- a blood pressure evaluations
- weight and body mass index (BMI) calculations
- EKGs to evaluate the heart’s electrical activity
- blood tests to assess levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose (blood sugar) and other factors
- echocardiograms (ultrasound evaluations of the heart)
- cardiac stress testing, used to evaluate how the heart functions during strenuous physical activity
In addition, the cardiologist will ask for an in-depth personal and family medical history as well as information about the patient’s lifestyle and habits, like tobacco, alcohol and drug use, physical activity levels, stress management and other issues that can affect heart health.
At the conclusion of the evaluation, patients will be provided with a customized treatment plan including guidance to help them improve unhealthy behaviors so they can reduce their risks for cardiovascular diseases. Additional testing may also be ordered, depending on the results of the initial evaluations.
Who benefits from preventive cardiology?
Considering heart disease is so prevalent, just about any adult can benefit from preventive care. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends regular cardiovascular screening beginning at age 20. While the tests and evaluations used in preventive care can benefit healthy men and women with no known risk factors for heart disease, they’re especially important for those with known risk factors like:
- hypertension (high blood pressure)
- high cholesterol
- family history of heart disease
- history of smoking
- sedentary lifestyle
- personal history of diseases that affect the cardiovascular system, like Marfan’s syndrome or rheumatic fever
Cardiac Specialists in San Luis Obispo
Ready to take that first step toward better cardiovascular health? Call Premier Heart and Vein Care at 805-979-4777 and schedule an evaluation today.