Healthy Heart News sLCH CArdiovascular institute | SEPTEMBER 2018

St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital’s Cardiovascular Institute is committed to you and our community. We pride ourselves on being an engaged partner with the many constituencies that we serve. As part of our commitment to meeting your heart health needs, we have developed this quarterly newsletter filled with information that can improve the quality of, and in some cases, help save your life. If there are topics that you would like to see covered in future editions, please e-mail Beverly Keefer, Director of Cardiovascular Services, Cardiac Cath and Interventional Radiology at bkeefer@slchospital.org.

Get your heart healthy nutrients this fall!

There’s no better time than fall to get your fill of produce that’s rich in autumn color and heart-healthy nutrients. Heart disease is the current leading cause of death in the U.S. There is a good amount of knowledge about prevention of heart disease. Diet plays a critical part in your heart health and while some foods are obvious to avoid, it can be a challenge to have a grasp as to what is good for your heart. If you are trying to improve your heart health and change your diet, talk with your doctor and consider including the following in your diet: whole grains, olive oil, almonds, fruits, fish and vegetables.

Together, the combination of low fat, high fiber, and high protein offered by these additions to your diet will help protect and support your heart health. In addition, low-sodium options can prevent heart damage.

Factors of a healthy heart

Managing any chronic illness can be challenging, and heart disease is no exception. Therefore, it is important that people with heart disease develop healthy habits that become part of a daily routine. A person with heart disease needs to care for themselves every day. This can mean taking medications, eating a balanced diet, having regular checkups with a physician and sticking to a plan no matter how you feel on a given day. It is important to monitor the health plan that is developed to make sure it is working for you. Tracking the effectiveness of your plan of care will help you to make healthy habits a part of your life.

Many things such as cholesterol and blood pressure are key indicators of your heart health and need to be monitored.

Blood Pressure: Blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day. A screening test performed by your doctor will give you a reading of that moment in time. Monitoring your blood pressure at home can help you manage it even better. The American Heart Association recommends charting your daily blood pressure readings to bring to each doctor appointment.

Cholesterol: Together cholesterol and triglycerides are known as lipids. Your lipid levels can be checked with a blood test. When you have heart disease, this test helps your doctor measure how well your risk factors are controlled.

Body Mass Index: Your BMI compares your height to your weight, letting you know whether you are considered healthy or overweight. A BMI of more than 25 is usually considered overweight and more than 30 is considered obese. Your physician can assist with this measurement.

Small steps lead to big benefits

Every year more than 2 million Americans have a heart attack or stroke and every day more than 2,200 people die from cardiovascular disease. Heart disease and stroke are the first and fifth leading cause of death, respectively, in the US. The good news is there are steps you can take to help prevent these conditions. Following your personalized plan of care will help you set and reach goals that will influence your heart health. Knowing your heart health is important and doing something to improve it are very different matters for many people.

Being diagnosed with heart disease can seem overwhelming. There is a lot to learn and do. Remember, there are many resources available that can help you. Managing your plan of care is an ongoing effort, but small changes in daily habits can make a world of difference.

Checking your weight, managing your meals without all the salt, taking your prescribed medications according to the directions, aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate daily activity, refraining from smoking, and keeping reguarly scheduled appointments with your doctor are all ways to help maintain a healthy heart.

want to hear more?

Check out our Doc Talk podcast library featuring interviews with a number of our clinicians on a wide range of topics, including heart-related issues.

For more information, contact the St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital Cardiovascular Institute at (845) 561-4400 (www.stlukescornwallhospital.org) or the Hudson Valley Chapter of the American Heart Association (http://hudsonvalleyny.heart.org).

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