February is American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about heart health and the importance of taking care of your heart. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but there are many things you can do to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. According to statistical data, a substantial portion of the American population is affected by various forms of heart disease, encompassing conditions such as coronary artery disease, heart failure, and arrhythmias. Risk factors contributing to the prevalence of heart disease include sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy dietary choices, smoking, and underlying genetic predispositions. The impact of heart disease extends beyond individual health, posing a significant economic burden on the healthcare system. Efforts to raise awareness and promote healthier lifestyles are critical in addressing and mitigating the widespread impact of heart disease.
The Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle
One of the most important things you can do to protect your heart is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. By making these changes, you can reduce your risk of developing heart disease and other chronic health conditions significantly.
Nutrition: A heart-healthy diet plays a crucial role in supporting cardiovascular health and mitigating the risk of heart disease. It is important to have a diet that is centered on nutrient-dense foods, this dietary approach emphasizes the consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. These foods are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, supporting overall heart health by promoting optimal blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, and reducing oxidative stress. Incorporating sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), flaxseeds, and walnuts, further contributes to cardiovascular well-being by promoting healthy lipid profiles and reducing inflammation. Equally important is the limitation/ elimination of trans fats, found in processed foods, as well as limiting added sugars to maintain blood vessel health and regulate blood pressure. Beyond specific food choices, adopting mindful eating practices, controlling portion sizes, and staying adequately hydrated are integral components of a holistic heart-healthy lifestyle. By embracing these principles, individuals can cultivate habits that not only prioritize cardiovascular wellness but also lay the groundwork for overall health and longevity. Talk with our Doctors and Nutrition Coaches at Woodbury Spine on how you can establish a heart-healthy diet!
Bloodwork and Supplementation: Blood tests are valuable tools for screening and assessing heart health, providing insights into various risk factors and indicators. Lipid panels measure cholesterol levels, including low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and triglycerides, offering critical information about cardiovascular risk. High levels of LDL cholesterol, specifically small, dense LDL and oxidized LDL, and triglycerides, along with low levels of HDL cholesterol, may indicate an increased risk of heart disease. Another crucial marker is C-reactive protein (CRP), which measures inflammation in the body; persistent inflammation is associated with a higher risk of heart issues. Additionally, tests for fasting blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c help assess diabetes risk, a condition closely linked to cardiovascular health. All of these are tested in the 8WW panel that we test in the office at Woodbury Spine.
In terms of supplements supporting heart health, omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil or algae supplements, are renowned for their positive impact on heart function. Omega-3s can help lower triglyceride levels, reduce inflammation, and improve overall heart health. Omega Pure by Nutridyn is our choice of omega 3 supplements because of its high-quality sourcing and 3rd party testing. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is another supplement that plays a role in cellular energy production and has antioxidant properties, potentially benefiting heart health. Magnesium is essential for muscle and nerve function, including the heart muscle, while potassium helps regulate blood pressure. NutriDyn also has many other supplements for heart health in their Cardio series that are all beneficial for heart health. Cardiometabolic is another great supplement for heart health and is a crucial part of the 8WW program. However, it's crucial to note that individual needs vary, and consulting with one of our doctors or nutrition coaches is advisable to see which supplements would fit your body best.
Exercise: Regular exercise is paramount for maintaining optimal heart health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Exercising has significant benefits that directly impact the cardiovascular system. Exercise strengthens the heart muscle, improving its efficiency in pumping blood throughout the body and promoting healthy circulation. It plays a crucial role in managing and maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, reducing the risk of hypertension, a significant contributor to heart-related complications. Additionally, regular physical activity helps control cholesterol levels by increasing HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol) and lowering small, dense LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). Exercise also aids in weight management, as maintaining a healthy body composition is integral to heart health. Beyond these physiological advantages, regular physical activity positively influences overall well-being, reducing stress, and anxiety, and promoting better sleep—all of which contribute to a healthier cardiovascular system. Incorporating regular exercise into one's lifestyle is a powerful and accessible means of creating a strong heart and promoting a longer, healthier life. Schedule your first class for FREE in our Functional Fitness Center, meet the trainers and begin your journey to a heart healthy lifestyle!
Chiropractic care: Chiropractic adjustments primarily focus on the spine and nervous system, and while it may not directly target the heart, it can contribute to overall cardiovascular health. The spine houses the spinal cord, a crucial part of the central nervous system that controls various bodily functions, including heart rate and blood pressure. Chiropractic adjustments aim to optimize spinal alignment, reducing interference in the nervous system and promoting efficient communication between the brain and the body. By enhancing this neural communication, chiropractic care may indirectly support heart health by helping regulate autonomic functions like heart rate and blood pressure. Moreover, reduced spinal misalignments can alleviate tension and stress, factors that can contribute to cardiovascular issues. While chiropractic care should not replace traditional heart health practices, it can complement a holistic approach to well-being, potentially contributing to an environment that supports cardiovascular health. However, it's essential to consult with healthcare professionals for comprehensive guidance on maintaining a healthy heart.
You only get one heart, it is important to take action now and keep it healthy! Especially if heart disease runs in your family. We highly encourage you to speak to one of the doctors and nutritionists at Woodbury Spine on how to keep your heart healthy!