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Be Your Heart’s Hero

Nov 18, 2016Health Matters for Women

How to defeat 6 supervillains of heart health

Hollywood’s flood of blockbuster superhero flicks tells us something about our collective appetite for the triumph of good over evil. While you may never wield an otherworldly hammer like Thor, you can be your heart’s hero by defeating six supervillains that wreak havoc on this hardworking organ.

B. Shields Stutts, MD, a board-certified cardiologist at Bingham Memorial Hospital, explains why heroes such as exercising, following a good diet, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight beat out supervillains every time.

Agent Inactivity

An estimated 80 percent of Americans do not get enough exercise. Yet, we have the power to vanquish this villain. The American Heart Association recommends any combination of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week. Dr. Stutts suggests a simple start: “If you’re doing nothing, do something. If you’re doing something, do more.”

Dastardly Diet

Defeat this demon by increasing the intake of low saturated fat proteins, vegetables and low sugar fruit (mostly the berries). It’s also time to vaporize big serving sizes. “Portion control is a major problem in this country,” Dr. Stutts says.

Sinister Smoke Breaks

“It’s easy to think about smoking as a villain because it damages the arteries directly. It’s not only a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, but it’s actually a trigger,” Dr. Stutts says. Kick this villain to the curb and you’ll cut your risk dramatically within the first year.

Bad-Guy BMI

“In people who are heavier, the heart has to work harder,” Dr. Stutts says. Body mass index (BMI)—a measure of weight indexed with height—is a screening tool to see whether you’re at a healthy weight or overweight or obese.

Apocalyptic High Blood Pressure

If it’s high, blood pressure—a measurement of the force of blood flow—can stretch or injure artery walls and increase the strain on your heart.

Heinously High Cholesterol

Over time, cholesterol and fat in arteries harden into plaque, which can clog the blood vessels and lead to a heart attack.

Check Your Heart

Bingham Memorial has complete cardiology coverage. With three cardiology specialists, there’s no need to leave eastern Idaho for cardiology care. B. Shields Stutts, MD; John Lasseter, MD; and Jan Garland, NP, provide exceptional cardiology care in Idaho Falls, Blackfoot, and Pocatello. To schedule an appointment, please call (208) 785-3897 or 785-3800.