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How to Improve Heart Health with Exercise

It's a fairly new concept that exercise can help the heart recover. In fact, up until the 1950s, physicians often told patients with cardiac problems they should avoid physical activity. It was in the late 1950s guidelines for exercise came forth for heart patients. These days, aerobic exercise is actually seen as an important factor in recovery.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), only around one in five teens and adults get the proper amount of exercise to maintain good health. And, the organization recommends you fit in a minimum of 2.5 hours (150 minutes) of heart-pumping physical activity (aerobics) each week. Aerobic exercises help improve lung and heart health and could even help you avoid vein treatment because exercise helps with vein care.

Exercises to Improve Your Cardiovascular Health

So, which exercises should you be performing for proper heart care?

1. Aerobics

Walking is one of the best types of aerobic exercise. It's safe, enjoyable and simple to fit into just about anyone's busy schedule. You can walk to work, to the grocery store or around your neighborhood. When the weather is inclement, you can walk inside on a treadmill at your home or gym.

2. Strength Training

Using weights, your own body weight or resistance bands are ideal for strength training. Perform this type of exercise a couple of times a week. Allow your muscles to recover by skipping a day between sessions.

3. Stretching

Stretching a few times a week can help you become more flexible. Gently stretch before exercising as a warm up and after you've finished exercising.

4. Bike Riding

Bike riding is the perfect aerobic exercise for the heart due to the pumping motion of your large leg muscles. Either a stationary bike in your home or a road bike will work.

5. Swimming

Another great aerobic exercise is swimming and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is the fourth most popular U.S. sports activity. You receive healthy heart benefits simply by swimming for two and a half hours each week. Swimming also puts less stress on the joints and bones, which is another benefit of this exercise.

Science has linked sitting too much and being inactive with a greater heart disease risk. Therefore, it's clear you can live a healthier, longer life by being active. So, get out there and get moving. A little can go a long way.

Learn More About Heart Health

At Premier Heart and Vein Care, our cardiology team offers individualized, state-of-the-art care patient care. To learn what you can do to improve the health of your heart, call us at 1-805-979-4777 and schedule an appointment today.

 

How can you tell if your heart is healthy?

Your heart is constantly working, 24/7. It never stops – ever. It is integral to sustaining your life, so you want to make sure it is as healthy as possible. But what does good heart health look like? While some conditions may arise as a person gets older, age doesn’t necessarily mean that you automatically have heart problems. In fact, with good heart care, you can enjoy a strong, healthy heart even into your later years. The better condition your heart is in, the less likely you will need vein treatment later in life.

And it all starts with knowing if your heart is healthy.

Your heart rate is within its target range.

The American Heart Association recommends a resting heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute, the lower, the better. A lower heart rate indicates a healthier heart. It means that your heart is in good condition and doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood through your body.

Your maximum and target heart rate will also change as your heart gets stronger. To find your maximum rate, subtract your age from 220. That is the highest heart rate you should experience when you exercise.

When you engage in moderately intense activities, aim for between 50% and 70% of your maximum heart rate. If you are engaged in vigorous activity, aim for 70% to 85% of your max heart rate.

Your blood pressure is good.

Blood pressure measures the amount of force your blood exerts against your artery walls while your heart is pumping. There are actually two measurements taken, systolic and diastolic. By measuring both you get a more complete function of the heart.

  • Systolic blood pressure – Measures arterial pressure when the heart contracts or squeezes.
  • Diastolic blood pressure – Measures arterial pressure when the heart is at rest, or between heartbeats.

Normal blood pressure is less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic. Higher numbers can indicate heart problems or an increased risk for heart disease.

Your bloodwork shows great levels.

There are several blood tests that can be done that are good indicators of heart health. Measuring triglycerides, LDL (bad cholesterol), and HDL (good cholesterol) are fairly standard in assessing overall health, including the heart. There may be other tests that your doctor will perform depending on other conditions you may have, your family history, or other risk factors for heart disease.

At Premier Heart and Vein Center, your heart health is our priority. Our doctors specialize in heart and vein care. Whether you are treating a heart problem, need vein care, or you just want to make sure your heart is as healthy as possible, we’re here for you. Call today for an appointment and keep your heart healthy.

 

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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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.
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Preventive Cardiology

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.
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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.
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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. 

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