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February is American Heart Month

Jan 31, 2018Health Focus

“Committed to helping you live a heart-healthy life, here is some information about heart disease and ways to get heart healthy.”

During February, many Americans see the human heart as a symbol of love, but this month is also American Heart Month, a time to show yourself some love.

Cardiovascular diseases—involving the heart or blood vessels—are the No. 1 cause of death of Americans, claiming some 800,000 lives each year, according to the American Heart Association. Heart disease was once looked at as being primarily a disease for men, but we now know that it’s the No. 1 cause of death for women, even greater than breast cancer.

Throughout February, take time to examine your life and how you can make it more heart-friendly, not just for you but also for your loved ones. Risk factors that can lead to heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, tobacco use, and family history.

Be proactive about your well-being. For example, improving everyday habits such as eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting sodium consumption, exercising regularly, avoiding tobacco, and moderating alcohol intake can greatly reduce the risk of heart disease. You don’t have to do all of these at once. Try by starting with one or two.

You should also have a simple screening to find out your cholesterol and blood pressure numbers. For cholesterol, it’s important for most people in general to have low-density lipoproteins (LDL) levels under 100 and readings of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) that are 60 or higher.

Blood pressure is the pulse of life, but having high blood pressure can be a silent killer. Since you can’t feel it, you don’t know you have it, which is why getting your blood pressure checked regularly is so important. It was once suggested that an average blood pressure was 120/80. According to the Joint National Committee (JNC 8) hypertension guidelines, a blood pressure in the 130s/80s is acceptable today.

Check Your Heart

We’ve recently introduced a new, noninvasive cardiac screening program: SmartBeat. This program reveals your likelihood of experiencing heart failure, stroke, and diabetes in the next four to 10 years. It also provides results that show your present health risks, and helps your physician in developing a care plan to reduce your future risk of experiencing life-threatening health problems. When you’re having your numbers checked this month by your doctor or a Bingham Memorial primary care provider, ask them if this screening might be right for you. For more information on our SmartBeat program, call (208) 782-2454.

In addition, our cardiology team, in association with Cardio Renal Centers of America and Longmore Cardiology, doubled in 2017. With complete cardiology coverage throughout Eastern Idaho, the following cardiologists are always welcoming new patients in Blackfoot and Idaho Falls:

B. Shields Stutts, MD | (208) 785-3897

John Lassetter, MD | (208) 523-3050

Ricky D. Latham, MD | (208) 523-3050

Don’t wait until it’s too late to treat cardiovascular disease. You’ll be glad you did.