American Heart Month:

Supporting Heart Health and Preventing Heart Disease

 

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American Heart Month: Supporting Heart Health and Preventing Heart Disease

February is the month that gets us thinking about hearts — the candy ones and the beating ones in our chest.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, killing nearly 655,000 Americans each year — one in every four deaths. The Haxtun Health team is here to support you in preventing heart disease or to keep it from worsening.

Dr. Benjamin Stephenson, Primary Care Provider and Chief of Staff at Haxtun Health, said it’s important to prioritize your heart health sooner than you might think.

“A lot of our heart patients spent their lives not worrying about heart disease until it was forced on them,” he said. “Young people and middle-aged adults may not even know they have several risk factors until it’s too late.”

Why Heart Health is Important

Heart-healthy lifestyles help us live longer, keep other organs in our bodies healthy and improve our overall quality of life, according to Wendy Evans, MPT, Physical Therapist at Haxtun Health.

Start with getting in regular exercise and eating a healthy diet. Education also plays an essential role in your endeavors, so don’t skip on appointments with your healthcare provider. They can provide you with invaluable information about your heart numbers, perform annual screenings and track your annual changes in risk factors.

How Haxtun Health Supports Patients

By identifying risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, smoking and other habits and traits that contribute to heart disease, Haxtun Health providers can tailor their care to the patient and work with them on necessary lifestyle changes. If you already suffer from heart disease, providers can help decrease your risk of further damage and work with a cardiologist to ensure you are up to date on your cholesterol labs, vitals, echocardiograms, EKGs and
medications.

Take control now and talk to your healthcare provider about what you can do to improve your heart health for the long term.

5 Heart-Healthy Tips

1. Eat Healthier
Minimize processed foods, mostly the three F’s — fried, fast and fatty foods. Limit your salt intake. Limit sugars and saturated fats to 10 percent of your daily calorie intake. Practice portion size control.
Schedule an appointment with Haley Edwards, Dietitian, at 970-774-6187.

2. Get in Physical Activity
Focus on low-intensity, long-duration aerobic activities, such as walking or biking. Develop a good exercise routine you can do at home. Set an exercise schedule that lays out specific activities, their duration and the days you will do those activities.
Schedule an appointment with Wendy Evans, Physical Therapist, at 970-774-6123.

3. Quit Smoking
Smoking lowers your good cholesterol, increases the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels and can cause thickening and narrowing of blood vessels.
Schedule an appointment with a primary care provider at 970-774-6187 to develop a plan.

4. Decrease Your Stress
Stress produces cortisol, which is detrimental to the body when elevated for long periods of time. Protect your heart by relaxing through activities like yoga, Pilates, breathing exercises or taking a long, brisk walk in the countryside. Try downloading a stress management app on your smartphone, such as Calm, Headspace or Breathe.
Schedule an appointment with a primary care provider at 970-774-6187 to develop a plan.

5. Improve Your Sleep
Lack of sleep can lead to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and obesity — all heart disease risk factors.
Haxtun Health partners with Fatigue and Sleep Remedies of Colorado to perform sleep studies on our main campus. For an appointment, call 970-774-6187.

See the full HEALTHBEAT newsletter here