Have you ever thought of the phrase “capturing one’s heart” to be a phrase that pertains to health? A healthy lifestyle starts with capturing the heart. Many patients attribute their health issues to genetics, but they are missing some of the most important factors. Risk factors that people many times get overlooked include diet, exercise, & overall lifestyle.
A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is the first step to a healthy heart. Eating a well-balanced diet enables the body to take in everything it needs and distribute it properly. Stuffing the body with processed foods can cause diseases such as diabetes & obesity. According to the American Heart Association about two of every three adults are overweight or obese.
Along with a heart healthy diet comes exercise. The most common mistake people make when it comes to exercise is thinking it is primarily for weight loss. Lack of exercise is actually one of the major risk factors for heart disease as well. Exercise increases the blood flow throughout the body allowing more blood to be pumped and continue circulating. Exercise can have many beneficial factors including a decrease in cholesterol and fat levels, reduced inflammation in the arteries, keeping blood vessels open and clear, and of course a stronger body.
One factor that can easily go unrecognized is blood pressure. High blood pressure can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Because high blood pressure usually does not have symptoms, it is almost impossible to detect on your own without a doctor.
Doing these things does not you don’t have to have your heart checked by your primary care doctor. The importance of continuous check-ups with your physician and maintaining a healthy heart increases with age. Schedule a visit with your primary care physician to discuss a heart healthy lifestyle.
What to Expect During Your Visit
There is a range of different tests to test the health of our heart. The Mayo Clinic suggests the following options:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) An ECG records the electrical signals emitted by your heart and can help your doctor detect irregularities in your heart’s rhythm and structure. You may have an ECG while you’re at rest or while exercising (stress electrocardiogram).
- Holter monitoring A Holter monitor is a portable device you wear to record a continuous ECG, usually for 24 to 72 hours. Holter monitoring is used to detect heart rhythm irregularities that aren’t found during a regular ECG exam. This noninvasive exam, which includes an ultrasound of your chest, shows detailed images of your heart’s structure and function.
- Cardiac catheterization In this test, a short tube (sheath) is inserted into a vein or artery in your leg (groin) or arm. A hollow, flexible and longer tube (guide catheter) is then inserted into the sheath. Aided by X-ray images on a monitor, your doctor threads the guide catheter through that artery until it reaches your heart. The pressures in your heart chambers can be measured, and dye can be injected. The dye can be seen on an X-ray, which helps your doctor see the blood flow through your heart, blood vessels, and valves to check for abnormalities.
- Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan This is a common test to check for heart problems. In a cardiac CT scan, you lie on a table inside a doughnut-shaped machine. An X-ray tube inside the machine rotates around your body and collects images of your heart and chest.
- Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) For this test, you lie on a table inside a long tube-like machine that produces a magnetic field. The magnetic field produces pictures to help your doctor evaluate your heart.
A heart-healthy lifestyle will keep you active. Keeping to a well-balanced diet, continuous exercise, and a stress-free environment are all key factors. Visit your primary care physician to learn more about the key factors of capturing a strong heart.
Boulevard Medical Healthcare offers compassionate, top quality cardiology care. Contact the practice today to have your heart evaluated.