A review of the ways to show love of the heartDr. Veita Bland / March 1, 2019
As the end of heart month approaches, we all need to remember that we must take care of our hearts all year round. So let us review a few of the ways you can show love to your heart. Some of this will be a review for some of you, but it is information worth repeating.
It is no secret that you need to know your cholesterol numbers. We know that cholesterol clogs up the arteries of the heart, but do you realize that the cholesterol is not selective. It affects the arteries of the heart, brain, kidneys, arteries of your legs and all the arteries of the body. Knowing what your numbers are and then lowering them, if elevated, can be a game changer for your heart health.
Controlling your blood pressure is a key element in loving your heart. Remember that normal is less than 120/80. If your blood pressure is elevated in most cases, we want it down to 130/80 at the most. Do what you can to get that blood pressure down.
Another way to love your heart is to make sure your sugar level is controlled. So, if you are diabetic get that glucose down. Studies have shown that 70 percent of diabetics also have hypertension. These two co-occurring conditions increase your chances of developing heart disease. Remember that diabetics do not die of diabetes; they unfortunately die of heart disease. Patients with these two conditions have a greater risk of strokes and hospitalizations. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure. Taking controlling of your glucose level is a perfect way to love your heart.
A major way to show love to your heart is to consume a healthy diet. The foods you consume really do impact your health. Watch your salt intake. The DASH diet is the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. It includes meat, fish, poultry, nuts and beans. It is limited in sugar, including sugar sweetened food and drinks, red meats and fats. This diet helps control one’s blood pressure.
Hopefully as you eat better you will be able to love your heart by losing weight. Weight loss is an excellent way to help your heart and to lower your blood pressure. It is felt that a 20 pound weight loss could lower your blood pressure by 10 points. I have seen smaller amounts of weight loss result in huge changes in blood pressure.
Another way to love your heart is to quit smoking. This deadly habit is a real heartbreaker.
Don’t forget that with everything in moderation is the key. Decreasing alcohol consumption will also show love to your heart.
Show love to your heart by looking at your life and making the aforementioned lifestyle changes. Your heart so deserves it.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays. Email Dr. Bland at email@example.com.