Heart Health

heart with stethoscope

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the U.S., and Baptist Health Care wants to help you focus on heart health and tips for having a healthy heart. Consider the following to be proactive about your heart so you can enjoy life more:

1. Learn About Heart Disease.
The term “heart disease” can refer to several condition types. The most common is coronary artery disease that may cause a heart attack. Learn if you are at risk by checking blood pressure and cholesterol levels regularly. High cholesterol could lead to deposit buildup on the walls of the arteries that could then lead to reduced blood flow, blockages or clots that could result in a heart attack.

2. Reduce the Risks.
Take precautions to reduce heart disease. Smoking, eating an unhealthy diet and not having adequate exercise can lead to heart issues. If you smoke, find a cessation program and support group to help you quit. Set a quitting date to help the goal be more attainable. Eat fresh foods often and avoid labels with a long list of ingredients. Plan meals ahead of time. Waiting until the last minute to eat, often leads to unhealthy choices. Exercise regularly. Go for a short, brisk walk daily. Take the stairs instead of an elevator. This will boost your activity, immunity and mood.

3. Visit Your Doctor
Schedule your annual exam with a primary care physician (PCP) using EasySchedule.com to check blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. One key to staying well is not waiting until you are sick to see a doctor. Preventative health is the best way to avoid late or too-late scenarios that lead to routine drawbacks.

4. Listen to Beats and Flutters
If you or someone you know is experiencing irregular heartbeats, fluttering or “flip flops,” talk to your primary care physician who can refer you, if needed, to a heart specialist. The irregular beat and flutter symptoms can lead to cardiac arrhythmia. Other heart issue signs may include racing heart, chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting and dizziness. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow or with an irregular rhythm that negatively affects blood flow. The specialists at Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute (BHVI) can talk with patients about individual treatments and options. Call 850.484.6500.

5. Laugh More
Research shows that laughing can reduce the risk of heart disease. People who laugh and spend time with supportive people are less likely to develop heart issues or heart disease. Results from studies indicate that people who are hostile and angry have higher rates of heart disease. Benefits of laughter include: lower blood pressure, reduced stress hormone levels, the release of endorphins and general well-being. After a good laugh you may feel more focused and relaxed. Laughing also increases immune response to viruses and can diffuse conflict. Build in ways to enjoy daily laughter for a healthier heart.

To learn more heart healthy tips and to see BHVI heart services, visit ebaptisthealthcare.org/heart.