Live a Heart-Happy Life
February is American Heart Month! Focusing on your heart health has never been more important. People with poor cardiovascular health are also at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
You can take an active role in reducing your risk for heart disease by eating a healthy diet, engaging in physical activity and managing your cholesterol and blood pressure. This is a great chance to start some heart-healthy habits.
Be sure to wear red on Friday, Feb. 5, for National Wear Red Day to remind the nation to focus on heart health and encourage family, friends, and community to get involved in the fight against heart disease and stroke conditions.
Regularly monitoring your blood pressure, with support from your health care team, can help lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. You can check your blood pressure at the doctor’s office, at a pharmacy, or even at home!
Obesity, high cholesterol, and smoking—they’re just a few of the things that doctors say can put you at risk for heart disease. “The goal when I see a patient at first is to prevent them from ever having to see me in the cath lab or in the hospital,” said Dr. Steven Deutsch, an interventional cardiologist with Lee Health.
Once patients develop coronary artery disease, they will develop symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain with exertion, and elevated cholesterol and blood pressure. “It’s never too late. I focus on the preventative measure. A stent is a quick fix but it’s not a great solution. It helps with the symptomatic relief but it kind of just sweeps the dirt under the rug. We need to do preventions such as Aspirins, get cholesterol in better control, change lifestyle factors if it’s smoking, eating habits,” he said.
Things like healthy eating and regular exercise can help patients better manage things like high cholesterol and diabetes—ultimately lowering their risk of heart disease. “The only diet that’s proven to reduce coronary artery disease is the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fats, such as olive oil, nuts, fruits, vegetables, limiting red meat and controlling the portions to around six ounces of protein,” explained Dr. Deutsch.
While genetics can also play a role in developing heart disease, doctors say everyone is at risk. Making it important to avoid too much red meat and fried food and focus on making daily healthy choices.
View More Health Matters video segments at LeeHealth.org/Healthmatters/
Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.
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