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Heart Healthy All Year

How can we strengthen our body's most critical muscle?

 

by Kristy Warren - February 28, 2019

Your heart pumps approximately 2,000 gallons of blood every day and beats an average of 2.5 billion times over your lifetime, which means keeping your heart in tip-top shape plays a big part in your overall health.

February marks American Heart Month, but keeping your heart healthy should be a focus year-round. Heart disease is responsible for one in every four deaths in the United States, and it is the leading killer of both men and women in the U.S.

Angela Dixon, a certified registered nurse practitioner with the Laurel Health Centers, sat down with The Homepage Network to talk women’s heart health, the important role of your family doctor in knowing your risks, and steps you can take today to boost your heart health.

Heart Disease & Women
Heart disease can be particularly deadly for women, who often experience atypical symptoms and may put off seeking treatment because their warning signs are more vague.

Women should be alert to more subtle changes in their body, including fatigue, indigestion / heartburn, and shoulder, jaw, or back pain—all of which can be signs of a serious heart problem.

If you are “feeling off” and aren’t sure why, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and make an appointment with your family doctor to discuss your concerns. They can pinpoint the problem and take steps to treat it quickly.

Warning signs can be subtle
When we think of heart attacks, we tend to think of older adults suddenly suffering crushing chest pain or numbness shooting down their left arm.
In reality, the signs can be much more subtle and are affecting more people at a younger age.
Pay attention to changes in your body and seek professional advice quickly if something isn’t right, even if you think it may be nothing. It’s always better to know.

What can you do today to improve your heart health?
Our busy lives often get in the way of focusing on our heart health, and it’s human nature to put off something that seems challenging. Don’t wait! Here are some simple steps you can take today to improve your heart health:

– Plan ahead: Making a healthy meal plan before hitting the grocery will help you steer clear of junk food and focus on healthy proteins and produce.
– Tweak your diet: Lower fat, cholesterol, and sodium; eat more fiber, fruits, and veggies!
– Watch your numbers: Get that annual checkup, and opt for preventive blood screenings and blood pressure checks every year. Keep an eye on your cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglyceride numbers, as they tell you a lot about your heart health.
– Lower stress: Stress can add up to a dangerous strain on your heart. Whether it’s meditation, reading, singing, or a soak, make time to unwind from the everyday hustle-and-bustle with something that relaxes you.
– Stay hydrated: Proper hydration makes your blood much easier to circulate. It also helps remove waste and has the added benefit of cushioning your joints, which makes heart-healthy exercise easier.
– Get moving: Talk to your family doctor about building a heart healthy exercise routine that safely raises your heart rate. If you can’t fit a 30+ minute block of exercise into your schedule, try smaller snippets of 10 – 15 minutes throughout the day. To easily add in more movement, take the stairs, park a little further away, or take your pets for a walk.

The Laurel Health Centers are committed to caring for patients regardless of their ability to pay. If cost is a barrier to your heart health, consider making an appointment at one of the six Laurel Health Centers by calling 1-833-LAURELHC. Each center offers sliding fee and pharmacy discount programs for underinsured patients and accepts all major insurances.

The Laurel Health Centers offer award-winning primary care services for the whole family in six convenient locations throughout Tioga County, including Blossburg, Mansfield, Lawrenceville, Westfield, Elkland, and Wellsboro. Services include obstetrics, gynecologic care, pediatrics, nutrition, diabetes education, preventive wellness care, physicals, internal medicine, behavioral health, sports medicine, and chronic disease management.

For more information, visit laurelhc.org or call 1-833-LAURELHC.

Credits:

Idea/Concept: Kristy Warren

Videography: Andrew Moore

Video Editing: Andrew Moore

Writing: Kristy Warren

Anchor: Johanna Vogt

Correspondent: Sara Vogt

 

Produced by Vogt Media

Funded by Laurel Health Centers

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