February is Heart Health Month

It is February. And you know what February is? It is heart health month. I was listening to the radio on the way to work this morning and they were like, you know what, everyone should just hate love. And I laughed a little bit and I thought, hmm, that’s kind of funny because what is this a Hallmark holiday? But you know what I would say, we should just really take Valentine’s day and think about how grateful and blessed we are to have all the love in our life that we have, and that we have really good, strong, healthy hearts because our hearts are so important to our health.

Our heart beats about two and a half billion times in a lifetime. Think about that. Two and a half billion times. And interestingly one out of two adults have high blood pressure and that’s a huge amount. 50% of adults have high blood pressure!

And that really takes the toll on our hearts and our cardiovascular system. So let’s talk about what the heart does. The heart really pumps our blood so that it can take oxygen to every part of the body. And it not only just carries oxygen, but it fuels us. It takes our hormones and, and lets them of them go all over our body. And it also takes compounds to all of the essential cells in our body. One of the things that I think is really important to talk about is it actually whisks away all of those bad products from our metabolism and that’s even down on a cellular level.

So our heart is very, very important. And I think it’s super important to talk about this because it really has a never ending workload, right? When our heart steps, we are in big trouble. So we wanna work really hard to keep our hearts healthy and pumping and doing everything that it can do as efficiently as it can, because if our hearts fail, we know we’ve got a big problem because we are then six feet under, right?

So let’s talk about some of the things that can actually cause us to have problems with our heart or cause to have heart failure. You know, a lot of people hear congestive heart failure–kidney failure can be really related to heart failure–but let’s talk about some of the reasons that this happens. Number one, poor diet can be one of the biggest reasons that we have this.

Now, I think it’s really important to talk about genetics and hearts because a lot of people think that there is a genetic link to heart issues, heart attacks and things like that. And you know, there is some level of a genetic connection with that. But I always say that lifestyle can actually trump genetics. So if we know that there are heart issues that run in our family, if we know that there is a genetic component to it, then we’ve gotta be extra careful with our lifestyle. We wanna make sure that we are getting enough exercise because lack of exercise, we will impact our ability for our heart to do all of the functions that we talked about earlier.

We wanna talk about making sure that we’re not smoking, which we know is bad for our health. It’s bad for our lungs. It causes cancer, but it also impacts the function of our heart.

Okay. A lot of people think it’s just a lung thing, but it’s actually real a heart thing. Also infections. If you’re not eating healthy, if you’re not taking care of your body, if you’re eating too much sugar, which fuels infection, those infections can actually get to the heart. And if they do get to the heart, sometimes that can lead to death, but it certainly will lead to hospitalization and it can impact your body to be able to eat and do the simplest thing like walking to your mailbox and back because that heart won’t be able to pump the way it’s supposed to be pumping because it’s really busy fighting that infection. And then I talked a little bit about this earlier, but some of us just have unlucky genes, right? You heard me unlucky genes.

But remember what I said, just because as you have unlucky genes or a genetic link to heart disease or heart failure, it doesn’t mean that you have to go down on that sinking ship and that you cannot overcome that with a healthy, wonderful lifestyle. There are a lot of different things that I think of when I’m talking to my patient about heart health and cardiovascular health. And I think really looking at lifestyle from a younger age is so important. I know when we’re young, we think we’re invincible. We can do anything. You know, I don’t know about you, but I could stay up all night, you know, get one of hour of sleep, get up and go to in the morning and then do it all over again. When I was young, I could, you know, eat bad food and not gain weight.

I could drink caffeine at 10 o’clock at night and fall right to sleep, wake back up and go about my day. But you know, what I didn’t know was that it was actually gonna impact my life in the future. And I think through education and really teaching our kids that quality of food, drinking enough water, taking really good quality vitamins, taking care of our hearts, do not smoke–exercise the right way. And uh, really just taking care of yourself will really lend to a lifetime of better heart health.

You know, a lot of people think of heart disease as just having blood pressure issues or cholesterol issues, but there is actually a name for it. And I wanna say this so that you guys can understand what it is, atherosclerosis–that is considered heart disease. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, those things can also damage your heart.

And so I think with really getting the knowledge, knowing what you can do to prevent it, knowing if you have a genetic link to it can really help stop you from getting heart disease to begin with. So I know there is a lot of information on heart disease, but I think it’s pretty easy just to kind of break it down.

There is a variety of medication that you can take and, in my opinion, sometimes medication is okay. I don’t think you should be on long term unless your heart doesn’t beat without it, or unless whatever you do, you can’t get your blood pressure down your cholesterol down.

You’re healthy, you’re a good weight. You’re eating good foods and you just really have such a strong genetic link that it doesn’t matter what your lifestyle is. And that’s a very, very small percent of people.

I did wanna give you a couple of quick little pointers to live a heart healthy life. The first one is learn about your health. If you can find out about your history, your parents, your grandparents, your aunts, your uncles, your brothers, your sisters, and what their health is, that will also give you knowledge and your doctors’ knowledge, if they ever need it. Another one is to eat a healthy diet, fresh organic, free fruit, fresh, organic vegetables, even dairy and meat and eggs. Those all get a bad rap. They can be really good for you.

Eggs are almost the perfect protein. It’s gotta be a good quality. I personally get all of my meat and my chicken and my dairy and my egg eggs from a local farm from the farmer’s market. When they’re in season, I try, I personally try to eat raw dairy unpasteurized because, oh my gosh, it tastes like the milk that I had when I was a kid. I don’t know about you, but we used to have a milk box on our front stoop. And I remember my mom would put our empty milk bottles out there and we would get home from school. We would open the box up and there would be fresh milk in there. And sometimes there were fresh eggs in there. It was pretty awesome. I also get all of my eggs from the farm and that’s because they’re happy eggs, they’re outside and they’re eating bugs and rolling around in the grass and, and under the feet of the cows and living just a happy life.

And you know, the farm that I go to is my dad and me family farm is one of them. Even their grandchildren are out there playing with their little chickies and those are some happy, happy chickens. And those eggs are yummy. I also eat fresh chicken from the local farm as well. If you don’t have a farm and access to a farm I would go and eat organic, the best quality eggs that you can get and the best quality chicken that you can. If they’re shipping them from halfway around the world to you, then maybe it takes two months to get to you. Maybe you should think about eating that.

We’re really meant to eat the fresh fruit and the fresh veggies that are actually in season.
So winter veggies will really will help you lead a healthier diet. Wild cut fish is also one that’s really worth mentioning. They have lower mercury levels, lower toxicity.

Quality of water matters. So make sure you’re getting good quality water into you. Rethink your drink, get rid of those sugar sodas. Have it on occasion, but really don’t drink or eat diet anything. If you think you’re not gonna gain weight, you are sadly mistaken. You actually put on more weight because your body cannot identify it as food and you store it as fat. The other thing is many research studies out there that show diet offerings caus cancer. Now, for my patients, we know we have sugar issues and I’m not saying you should go out and eat tons of sugar. But what I am saying is you should be very aware of what you are putting into your body.

Utilize some of these strategies. Try to just incorporate them one at a time into your life. And I think you will see such a huge benefit to them.

Do you have a question for Dr. Deb, or would you like to make an online or in-person appointment with her? Please call 770-974-5215, go to FeelBetterHere.com or email FeelBetter@LakePointeWellnessCenter.com