The impact of heart disease is significant, since it affects the quality of life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; one in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke, equal to 2,200 deaths per day.
The good news is that lifestyle changes can make a difference. Your physical therapist can play an important role in improving your heart health. A physical therapist can help you craft a “heart healthy” exercise program. Even if you have never exercised before, we’ll improve the health of your heart with a safe, progressive exercise program. Expect to work closely with us, and together as a team, we’ll improve the way your heart functions.
If you currently suffer from heart related issues, your physical therapist can help you regain an active lifestyle by working on three specific areas:
Physical activities geared towards your specific abilities and goals
The average heart rate of an average adult is 72 beats per minute. If you live to be 80 years old, your heart would have beaten almost 3 billion times. The heart is an amazing organ that keeps beating involuntarily and powers blood circulation for the entire body. Here are some important considerations for heart health.
Understand the impact of lifestyle – While genetics play a part in heart disease, lifestyle choices have a significant impact. Smoking, overeating, eating unhealthy food and a sedentary lifestyle are factors that must be improved, especially when heart disease runs in the family.
Eat healthy – Minimize the consumption of sodium and trans fats. Eat healthy fruits and vegetables daily (try frozen versions when fresh produce is not in season as they hold the most nutrients).
Join heart healthy programs – Several programs can help you achieve a heart healthy lifestyle. In September 2011, the CDC launched a national initiative called A Million Hearts that includes a list of partners (federal and private sector) committed to keeping people heart healthy. Among those participating are the American Heart Association, the YMCA, Walgreens, and numerous health insurance companies. You may want to consider challenging your family and friends to take the Million Hearts™ pledge (or taking the pledge yourself) at www.millionhearts.hhs.gov
Keep Moving – Being active doesn’t mean having to run on a treadmill or attend a workout class. Simple things like taking a daily walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away from your destination and walking to it can make a difference. Just keep moving!
Although exercise is an important part of heart disease prevention, it is important to remember the ABC’S of a healthy heart. Consult your physician for more information on these four key factors:
A – An Aspirin a day can help keep your heart healthy. Ask your physician if low dose aspirin is a good idea for you.
B – Know your Blood pressure numbers. If your blood pressure remains high for a period of time, you may be at risk for heart disease. Ask your physician for more information.
C – Know your Cholesterol levels – your body has ‘good’ cholesterol and ‘bad’ cholesterol. The ratio between these numbers is an important determinant of heart health.
S – There is no question Smoking is detrimental to the heart! Smoking has a detrimental effect on other organs including your lungs and has been proven to cause cancer.
As your physical therapists, we are committed to helping you live a healthy lifestyle brimming with energy and abundance. A strong, healthy heart is the first step, and we want to help you. Don’t wait, just give us a call today and ask us for more information. You owe it to your heart.
Dr. Daniel Skulavik, PT, DPT, OCS, is with Advanced Physical Therapy located in the Food Lion Shopping Center, Clinton.