Evans, GA (PRWEB) February 27, 2015
In honor of American Heart Month in February, Dr. Edwin Scott, from the Center for Primary Care (CPC) South office, is offering tips on how to improve heart health.
Heart disease may be a leading cause of death, but that doesn't mean people have to accept it as their fate. Although one may lack the power to change some risk factors — such as family history, sex or age — there are some key heart disease prevention steps to take.
Dr. Scott has six helpful tips to improve heart health and prevent heart disease:
1. Don't smoke or use tobacco
Smoking or using tobacco of any kind is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage the heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). The good news, though, is that when one quits smoking, one’s risk of heart disease drops almost to that of a nonsmoker in about five years. No matter how long or how much someone has smoked, they will start reaping rewards as soon as they quit.
2. Exercise for 30 minutes on most days of the week
Getting some regular, daily exercise can reduce the risk of fatal heart disease. When physical activity is combined with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the payoff is even greater. Try getting at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week. It’s not necessary to exercise strenuously to achieve benefits, but there are bigger benefits to increasing the intensity, duration and frequency of workouts.
3. Eat a heart-healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk of heart disease. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help protect the heart. Beans, other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce the risk of heart disease. Limiting certain fats is also important. Heart-healthy eating isn't all about cutting back, though. Healthy fats from plant-based sources, such as avocado, nuts, olives and olive oil, help the heart by lowering the bad type of cholesterol. Most people need to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet — with a goal of five to 10 servings a day. Eating that many fruits and vegetables can not only help prevent heart disease but may also help prevent cancer and improve diabetes. Eating several servings a week of certain fish, such as salmon and mackerel, may decrease the risk of heart attack.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight, especially carrying excess weight around one’s middle, ups the risk of heart disease. Excess weight can lead to conditions that increase the chances of heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Even a small weight loss can be beneficial. Reducing weight by just 5 to 10 percent can help decrease blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol level and reduce the risk of diabetes.
5. Get enough quality sleep
Sleep deprivation can do more than leave one yawning throughout the day; it can harm one’s health. People who don't get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Those who wake up without their alarm clock and feel refreshed are getting enough sleep. But, those who are constantly reaching for the snooze button and struggling to get out of bed may need more sleep each night.
6. Get regular health screenings
High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage the heart and blood vessels. But without testing for them, there’s no way to know whether a patient has these conditions. Regular screening can tell patients what their numbers are and whether they need to take action.
- Blood pressure: Regular blood pressure screenings usually start in childhood. Adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every two years. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury.
- Cholesterol levels: Adults should have their cholesterol measured at least once every five years starting at age 20 if they have risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity or high blood pressure. Those who are healthy can start having their cholesterol screened at age 35 for men and 45 for women. Some children may need their blood cholesterol tested if they have a strong family history of heart disease.
- Diabetes screening: Since diabetes is a risk factor for developing heart disease, some may want to consider being screened for diabetes. Patients should talk to their doctor about when they should have a fasting blood sugar test to check for diabetes. Depending on certain risk factors, such as being overweight or having a family history of diabetes, the doctor may recommend early screening for diabetes. For those who have a normal weight and don't have other risk factors for type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends starting screening at age 45, and then retesting every three years.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Scott or one of the other outstanding physicians at CPC, go to http://www.cpcfamilymed.com.
About the company:
Center for Primary Care has been a leader in family medicine for families of the CSRA since 1993. The family medical practice features 27 family doctors and seven existing locations throughout the Augusta, GA area. The primary care facility offers convenient office hours that include weekday evenings as well as weekend acute care.
CPC provides patients of all ages with the most accessible, convenient, personal healthcare available in a family practice. Among the many services offered include routine evaluations, physical exams by a family physician, diagnostic imaging and preventative care. Listings for all seven locations, including specific physicians, directions and hours of operations can be found on the Center for Primary Care’s website. For more information, visit their website at http://www.cpcfamilymed.com.