Dr. Ofer Shustik Shares Heart Health Tips for February’s Heart Health Month
(West Palm Beach, FL) – We all know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, but did you know that heart disease is responsible for 1 in every 4 deaths? Dr. Ofer Shustik of Coordinated Health West Palm Beach shares his tips for making heart healthy decisions that can improve your quality of life while potentially saving your life. You’re probably wondering if you could be at risk for heart disease? The truth is, everyone is at risk for heart disease if they don’t follow consistent, good health habits. Dr. Shustik shares his Top 5 Tips to improve your heart health:
- Make healthier food choices. Start by decreasing the amount of trans fat from your diet and increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Trans fats are the leading contributor to developing heart disease or having a stroke over a lifetime, but by including fruits and vegetables in every meal, you can help decrease heart-related risks. Finally, eat healthy fats and foods rich in protein and vitamins. Your heart requires healthy fats to improve the blood flow throughout your body.
- Get active. Just as exercise strengthens other muscles in your body, it helps your heart muscle become more efficient and better able to pump blood throughout your body. This means that the heart pushes out more blood with each beat, allowing it to beat slower and keep your blood pressure under control. But, you don’t need to make drastic lifestyle choices. “Start with something small, like going for a walk after dinner or trying out a new workout class with a friend,” says Dr. Shustik. “Small habit changes can lead to others and combined, they can produce larger – and positive – changes in the body.”
- Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke. If you still smoke, now is the time to quit. Smoking is a major contributor to heart disease, however, the body starts to repair itself as soon as a smoker quits, so the sooner you can stop, the sooner you can repair your heart.
- Control your cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes. The ideal blood pressure for a healthy adult is 120/80. Weight gain, tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, and a diet with too much salt and fat can all contribute to increased blood pressure and high cholesterol. When you have high cholesterol, you may develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Over time, those deposits make it difficult for blood to flow through your arteries. While your doctor may also prescribe medication, watching your intake of high-fat, high-sodium foods and increasing exercise to at least 30 minutes per day can lower high blood pressure and even help ward off other age-related ailments, such as adult-onset diabetes and osteoporosis.
- Manage stress! Stressful situations increase the level of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in your body – the “fight or flight” hormones. Each day, try to relax with a stress reduction technique such as seeing friends, practicing yoga or meditation, exercising or simply being outside in the sunshine for a short time each day. There are many tried and tested ways to reduce stress so try a few and see what works best for you. “According to research, emotional health and physical wellbeing are strongly linked,” says Dr. Shustik. “Anti-stress techniques can boost your mood by helping to release serotonin, the body’s own chemical that produces feelings of wellbeing.”
Dr. Shustik specializes in preventive care and concierge medicine and has 20 years of experience as a board-certified primary care and family medicine physician.