Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Good News!

I had my followup with my new cardiologist this morning, and he said that the narrowing in my coronary arteries is negligible!. He also said that if I keep doing what I'm doing, I should be fine! He was one of the nicest guys I've ever met, and so friendly and personable. He took his time answering ever single question I had and did not rush me. I left that office feeling like a million bucks!

So, here's advice for all of us to love our hearts and keep our hearts healthy and strong!

1} Exercise as often as humanly possible! Just make sure you clear it with your Doctor first. My husband, Ian and I walk with our little Jack Russell, Buddy, most days of the week for at least 2 to 3 miles up and down lots of hills. Ian rides his bike alot and we also do lots of barn/horse type chores, and I ride when I can. {I also want to get back into doing yoga!}
2} Eat a heart friendly diet! Ian and I have been vegetarians for almost 6 years now,and since my hospital scare a few weeks ago, I am just about vegan now. You have to choose what's best for you. I'm not trying to preach. But PLEASE eats lots of fruits and veggies and whole grains. Stay away from saturated fats. Eat walnuts and flaxseed because they are rich in omega 3 fatty acids that are wonderful for your blood vessels. And remember, what keeps your heart and blood vessels healthy also keeps strokes and Alzheimer's and cancers at bay. Oh, and stay away from simple sugars/things high in sugar.
3} PLEASE don't smoke or really consider quitting. It's THE single greatest thing you can do for your heart! When I was a dumb teenager who knew everything, I smoked for about 3 years. But that was over 26 years ago. I'm so glad I quit one day, cold turkey. No b.s., I just stopped. It's called loving yourself enough to do the right thing for your health. I know it's hard to quit, but isn't your life worth sticking around for? Aren't your loved ones worth it? Just do it! Your heart will thank you!
4} Learn to relax and manage your stress.Take time to smell the proverbial roses. Learn to meditate. We are all so caught up in our hectic lives that we forget about what really matters. We all need time to have time and space to ourselves to reflect upon who we really are and what we are meant to do with our fleeting time here on this planet. Are you doing what you really want? If not, why not? How can you start getting there?
5} Make sure you have a good Doctor, one who you can talk to and who listens to you. Have your yearly physical exams. Don't skip them! They are vital for catching health concerns early, before they can wreak havoc on your health. Also, learn to be your best advocate. Speak up for yourself, and voice your healthcare concerns, no matter how silly they seem.
6} Know your numbers and what they mean. Don't just take your Doc's word for it!
The most important numbers you should know include:
-Your blood pressure. Normal is less than 140/90 but ideally it's better for it to be down around 120/70 or so. If it's consistently high you may need medication to lower it. Make sure you discuss this with your Doctor. Uncontrolled BP has very serious consequences for your heart.
-Your lipid panel/profile, includes your cholesterol. Ideally, your total cholesterol should be less than 200, your LDL {the bad cholesterol} should be ideally less than 100, triglycerides less than 150, and your good cholesterol, HDL, should be greater than 40 for men, and 50 for women.
-Your weight. Yes, let's face it-it's so easy to put on weight as we age. But we are doing our hearts no favors by ignoring the scale. Ideally, your BMI or body mass index should be between 18.5 and 24.9 to be a healthy weight. Here's a great link to check your BMI. Just put in your height and weight and it tells you:
-have your blood sugar checked. A normal fasting blood sugar is around 70 to 110 or so. When you have your yearly checkup, make sure you have lab work done like a metabolic panel, CBC, thyroid function. The metabolic panel will include a blood sugar level. Knowing early that you have developed Type II diabetes is something you can then manage. Diabetes at any age is very hard on your organs, but especially your heart, kidneys and eyes.

It's up to us to be proactive in keeping ourselves healthy! And remember, whether you are young or not, heart disease in the family or not...any chest pain or pressure accompanied by shortness of breath/dizziness/nausea/vomiting/sweating ALWAYS warrants attention. Get yourself checked immediatley. What's the worst find out your heart's okay and you live?!

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