Healthy Heart, Healthy You: Three Ways To Keep Your Heart Beating

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American Heart Month is a time for us to come together and help raise awareness for our No. 1 killer – cardiovascular disease. But cardiovascular disease remains the No. 1 killer all year round, so it’s important to keep focusing on it all year as well. In honor of the month, American Heart Association (AHA) chose “Be the Beat" as this year’s slogan, encouraging at least one person in each household to learn Hands-Only CPR.

Along with knowing CPR, there are additional facts to know, especially preventative ones. Here, Haute MD expert Cardiologist Dr. Ryan Houk of Naples Heart Rhythm Specialists and his wife, Internal Medicine Physician, Dr. Deborah Houk explain the importance of knowing yourself and your heart.

What are three ways to keep your heart healthy?

  1. Don’t Smoke – Smoking is a huge risk factor for heart disease and harms not only the heart, but negatively affects every organ in the body. Smoking hurts the heart through increasing cholesterol build up in the blood vessels and causes one in every four deaths from cardiovascular disease.
  2. Incorporate Exercise – Exercise helps the heart by controlling many modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Not only does exercise lower your blood pressure and help you maintain a healthy body weight, it also decreases inflammation in the body and decreases your risk of developing heart disease linked diseases like diabetes.
  3. Live Life in Moderation – Moderation is key to preventing and managing heart disease. Disorders like obesity and diabetes are often born out of excess calories and excess sugar.Rather than going overboard and increasing your risk of heart disease, consume in moderation so that you avoid the harmful cardiac effects. Similarly with alcohol, too much can lead to a slew of heart problems from abnormal heart rhythms to structural changes in the heart. People who don’t live life in moderation are often unhappy and unhealthy, and unfortunately, their heart health suffers.

What is the most common heart disease?

The most common form of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD). When cholesterol clogs the blood vessels leading to the heart, this causes CAD. The effects of CAD range from asymptomatic to intermittent chest pain to deadly heart attacks. CAD can also lead to heart failure. It’s important to control your risk factors for CAD by not smoking and seeing your doctor to make sure your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and sugar levels are within normal range.

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How important is it to know your family's heart history?

Knowing your family heart history is extremely important to your personal heart health as a strong family history of heart disease makes you more likely to get coronary artery disease or other inherited heart issues. It’s not only important to just know whether or not your family has a history of heart disease, but also to know the specifics. Do you have first degree relatives with heart disease? If so, what was their age of onset? Were they in their 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s? Do you have multiple family members with heart disease? These are important questions that need to be answered because heart disease will likely affect you similarly unless you do something to change it.

What are three interesting facts about heart disease?

  1. Heart disease is the number 1 killer worldwide and as such it should be taken very seriously.
  2. Heart disease is preventable, and if you control your risk factors (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, smoking, inactivity, and drinking) you can significantly decrease your risk of heart disease.
  3. Heart disease is treatable if caught early. If you’re concerned about your risk for heart disease, talk to your doctor as you may need to be proactive and get tested for coronary artery disease.

What questions should you ask a doctor about your risk for heart disease?

You should ask your doctor to assess your risk for heart disease. It’s important that you know your risk! Ask your doctor about calcium scores and if that test is appropriate for you. Also ask your doctor how you can reduce your risk of heart disease.

If you are looking to learn more about how you can keep your heart beating healthy, inquire to make an appointment today online or via telephone at 239-263-0849. 

For more information, visit Naples Heart Rhythm Specialists's social media: