UCSD HEART HEALTHY TIPS OF THE DAY
FOR FEBRUARY’S “HEART MONTH”
Cardiac health is an important
issue all yearlong, but with February designated as “Heart Month,” UCSD
Healthcare cardiologists Daniel Blanchard, M.D., and Denise Hermann, M.D., offer
28 heart healthy tips for each day of the month:
# # #
regularly. Thirty minutes of aerobic exercise three days a week or more can
greatly reduce your risk for heart disease. It is also a great stress reliever.
- Learn new
ways to avoid or cope effectively with stress. Tension, frustration and sadness
can trigger or worsen heart abnormalities.
- If you
smoke, QUIT. The California Smoker’s Helpline can provide free confidential
smoking cessation counseling. Call them at 1-800-7-NO-BUTTS. Heart disease risk
returns to that of a nonsmoker five years after kicking the habit.
- Add some
light lifting. Resistance and weight training can build lean muscle, which helps
the body’s engine (heart) run more efficiently.
- Maintain or
reduce your weight to a healthy level, as overweight and obese people have
higher risk for heart disease.
friendly, caring relationships. Loneliness has been shown to have negative
effects on the heart. It’s also
good insurance to have a support network of friends who can watch out for you.
- Eat fruits
and vegetables that are good natural sources of nutrients, especially those that
are rich in potassium, which has been shown to lower blood pressure in people
deficient in this mineral. These whole foods are also low in fat and
foods rich in folic acid and B vitamins that can help prevent heart disease by
protecting blood vessels from damage.
- Eat 25 to 30
grams of fiber a day. Fiber helps lower blood cholesterol, and people who eat
more fiber have a lower risk of heart disease.
- Take time to
savor things that make you happy and those that make you laugh. Happiness and
laughter have been shown to be some of life’s best medicine.
salt intake. Too much sodium contributes to high blood pressure, a leading cause
of heart failure and stroke.
- Visit your
doctor regularly for recommended routine tests of blood pressure and cholesterol
levels. Discuss any changes in your health and heart risk factors with your
- Help your
children and grandchildren develop heart healthy habits at an early age by
setting a good example yourself.
- Know your
family health history. If your mother or father had a heart attack or suffered
from heart disease before they were 60 year old you are at risk for the disease
and should be aware of how to control risk factors.
- Check for
diabetes if you have a family history or are overweight. Increased blood sugar
levels can be a factor in the onset of heart disease.
- Know your
own health history by being aware of your blood pressure and cholesterol levels
as well as knowing what is considered normal for these.
- Schedule time for some rest and relaxation. “Down time” is good for reducing stress
and increasing your overall well being.
- Be aware of
symptoms for a heart attack such as shortness of breath, chest pain, pressure,
lightheadedness, nausea and others.
- Do not
ignore warning signs or symptoms of a heart attack. Immediate treatment is
crucial for recovery.
the signs of heart failure: fatigue, activity intolerance, congestion, and
- Always have aspirin handy. Its
anti-clogging ability prevents blood clots and, with physician approval, should
be taken by individuals at risk of a heart attack as well as those experiencing
signs of a heart attack.
- Work with
your doctor to eliminate heart disease risk factors by modifying your lifestyle
or taking medications.
- If you
take multiple medications or over-the-counter drugs review your regimen often
with your physician and pharmacist. Make sure the combination of the medications
will not have adverse effects on you heart or health.
- Eat only lean cuts of meat. The protein is
good for the muscles which pump blood to you heart. The fat, however, you can do
cut out fat but don’t overdo it. Some research has found that a moderate
amount of unsaturated fat, such as that found in olive oil and canola oil is
good for the heart. However, avoid saturated fats.
packaged food’s nutrition labels and choose foods low in fat. Limit your fat
intake to 20 to 30 percent of your total daily calories.
Participate in research studies that are searching for ways to prevent and treat
heart disease. UCSD School of Medicine has a variety of studies going on. For
information, call 1/800-926-UCSD.
- Get a
pet. Some studies have shown that pet owners have better blood pressure and
cholesterol profiles than did non-pet owners.
Media Contact: Kate Smith
UCSD Cardiologists Offer Free Health Screenings and Expo
for Heart Failure
Awareness Week Feb. 10-17
TO UCSD HEALTH SCIENCES COMMUNICATIONS HEALTH BEAT