Check Your Heart in 2018

January 16, 2018

Be Smart in 2018 — Check Your Heart

Dr. Sean Gloth, board certified in cardiovascular disease and internal medicine, is a member of Columbia Association’s Medical Advisory Board.

As you prepare for February and Valentine’s Day, be sure to remember that it’s also American Heart Month — a perfect time to get your and heart and blood pressure checked. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most ethnicities in the United States, and the second most frequent cause of death for the rest.

Did you make a New Year’s resolution? So many of us make a resolution to exercise more or lose weight (and they ARE related, by the way). Did you know that by most accounts, less than 10% of people actually achieve their resolution? One reason is that the goal is simply too big. When people don’t see results by February, they just give up.

Here’s one resolution you can keep. February is American Heart Month. Make an appointment now to have your blood pressure checked. High blood pressure (hypertension) generally has no symptoms; it is known as the silent killer. If untreated, it can cause severe disability and death. Fortunately it can be treated, and the ravages of its effects can be deterred. This is why all primary caretakers take blood pressure readings, and this is why you should know if you have hypertension.

The Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8) studies and develops guidelines to treat hypertension. It recommends these lifestyle changes as a good start:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Control blood glucose and lipids.
  • Healthy eating.
  • Reduce sodium intake to no more than 2,400 mg/day.
  • Moderate alcohol consumption.
  • Physical activity.
  • An average of 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity 3-4 days a week.

Citation: JAMA. 2014;311(5):507-520. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.284427

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