Your heart is important in so many ways, and here at MVA, we want to make sure that it stays in the best condition possible. Did you know that heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States? Did you also know that your risk increases at age 45 if you are a man and at age 55 if you are a woman?

Here are some other factors that can affect your chances of acquiring heart disease:

  • Obesity
  • Unhealthy diet habits
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Stress
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Although you cannot change some of the risk factors like family history and age, there are some key steps you can take to prevent heart disease.

  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco – the risk of the heart disease significantly reduces one year after quitting smoking. Second-hand smoking, smokeless tobacco, low nicotine cigarettes, social smoking also can be risky.
  • Eat heart-healthy diet – Avoid too much salt and sugar in your diet and avoid the trans fat in your diet such as chips, cookies, fried fast foods and bakery products. Your diet should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish. If you eat meat, it is best to eat lean meat or poultry, such as chicken.
  • Exercise – Exercise at least 30 minutes most of the days in a week. For example: brisk walking, biking and gardening. Exercising will help with weight control, blood pressure & diabetes control and lowering cholesterol.
  • Manage stress – Get enough sleep, be active physically, try relaxation exercises and meditation.
  • Schedule annual visits with your primary care doctor – Get health screenings, have your blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes checked regularly.

If you have questions about improving your health, or if you suspect you have heart disease, MVA is here help.  As the health center network that has been here caring for the community for more than 50 years, our doors are open to all.  We welcome patients, new and old.  Simply call the MVA Health Center nearest you for an appointment or walk-in during regular office hours.

I hope you will take this tip from me, your partner in good health,

Smitha Pati, MD
Board Certified Family Medicine Physician
MVA Health Center – Fairmont