Heart Health

I talk about the concept of “patient empowerment” a lot in my practice. That’s because I believe heart health shouldn’t be overwhelming or complicated. It doesn’t have to be about teaspoons of fat intake, or daily monitoring of grams, or obsessively calculating proteins versus fat.

Instead, the concept of heart health can be boiled down to a much simpler approach, one that empowers patients instead of confuses or intimidates them. Every day I try to tell my patients that good heart health simply includes daily exercise (walking is a good start); a diet of water-rich fruits and vegetables; and an awareness of and determination to limit foods rich in salt and fats.

Heart health is about simple choices, and respecting your body and soul. In other words, it’s about feeling empowered.

And I want my patients to feel like they have the power to make good choices—because everyone has that power within their mind, body, and soul.

Your heart is an indispensable pump. Every day it beats more than 100,000 times, pumping more than 2,000 gallons of life-giving blood throughout your body. Heart health is important for total health and well-being; and injury or damage to your heart, its valves, or blood vessels leads to heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease, surpasses cancer, accidents, homicide, and diabetes mellitus as one of the leading causes of death for males and females in the United States. In 2009, the total estimated cost of cardiovascular disease and stroke was $475.3 billion. Some risk factors for developing heart disease such as age, heredity, and gender cannot be controlled. However, the following 6 major risk factors are controllable:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking and tobacco use
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Being overweight and obese
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • High blood pressure

Your chances of developing heart disease are higher the more risk factors you have. The positive news is that, once empowered with good information, you can take control of your health, prevent heart disease, and live healthy. But by exercising and eating healthy—and empowering yourself with knowledge about your risk factors—you can greatly reduce the risk of heart disease and increase your health, happiness, and sense of spiritual and emotional well-being.