Preventing Heart Disease By: Dr. Howard Broder

Heart
The heart is a muscular organ that is vital to all functions that give life to a person’s body. It is responsible for circulating blood which provides the entire body with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to survive. Because the heart is the center of so many essential functions, taking care of this life-sustaining muscle is extremely important. The physicians at HealthCare Partners Cardiology have a few tips for patients on ways to protect this hard-working muscle and prevent heart disease.

Heart disease describes a number of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. Forms of heart disease include coronary heart disease, heart failure, arrhythmias and heart valve problems. Coronary heart disease is the most common form and occurs when plaque builds up in blood vessels. When blood cannot flow freely through narrowed or blocked vessels, this condition can result in a heart attack. Although heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S., many forms of heart disease can be prevented through lifestyle changes and healthy living.

The risks of heart disease increase with age, this is why it is extremely important to protect the heart at an early age. There are many factors that affect a patient’s risk for heart disease, some such as genetics are uncontrollable. However, simple lifestyle changes can be made to greatly reduce a person’s risk.

Being obese or overweight can put added pressure on the heart and increase the risk for heart disease. Maintaining a healthy weight is an important step toward taking care of the heart. Physicians often use the body mass index (BMI) to calculate a healthy weight range for patients. They can also use waist and hip measurements to determine a person’s excess body fat. In addition to aiding in weight management, choosing healthy meals that are high in fiber and low in saturated fat and sodium can help with maintaining low cholesterol levels and regulating blood pressure. Taking the time to exercise for as little as two and a half hours each week can also significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. Consult a HealthCare Partners physician for advice on a healthy diet and exercise plan.

Smoking cessation is another essential step towards preventing heart disease. There are many resources available for those who want to quit smoking, HealthCare Partners physicians are a great resource for those who need information to take this step.

Following these simple steps can go a long way towards preventing heart disease. Only a physician can truly assess a person’s risk. HealthCare Partners Cardiology has several clinics throughout Southern Nevada, visit www.hcpnv.com/cardiology to find a cardiologist near you.