Did you know that February is American Heart Month? When was the last time you thought about your heart? It’s working around the clock for you, keeping blood flowing. We here at Oregon Health Direct Primary Care want to help keep your ticker in tip-top condition!
When your heart doesn’t get all the love it needs, it can start to let you down. Plaque forms in the lining of arteries leading to blocked blood flow and heart attacks. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes can all have an effect on heart health. There are several ways you can support your heart’s health to keep it happy for the long haul.
It’s easy to learn what foods are better choices than others, and most people know that a salad is going to be a healthier choice than a hamburger. Knowledge is the first step, but you also need to put it into practice. Start by adding a new vegetable every day, or swapping out plenty of fruit for your typical sweet dessert. Small changes add up over time and are much easier to stick to than huge sweeping lifestyle changes. Whether you want to lose weight or just eat better, Dr. Mathai at Oregon Health DPC is a great resource for nutrition advice that’s good for your heart.
Healthier eating might start by learning a few new cooking tricks. If complex home-cooked meals feel overwhelming to you, find a simple heart-healthy cookbook with selections your family would enjoy and try something new together. If you love to go out for, say, Mexican food, you can recreate favorites at home (like these Kid-Friendly Enchiladas!) and make some healthier substitutions.
Getting your heart pumping is just like lifting weights for it; the more you make it work, the stronger it gets. That doesn’t mean that you should suddenly try to run 10 miles! Daily activity that gets the blood flowing is just as effective. If you love to swim, hit the pool more often. Go for a bike ride with your kids. Park across the parking lot and power walk inside the store. Join a group of like-minded people to add a boost of accountability and social motivation!
For the average person, walking 10,000 steps a day is a great goal. If you have been a couch potato and would like to start being more active, come in and see us for a checkup and complete fitness plan. We can help you get off on the right foot with reasonable expectations and goal-setting.
We fully believe that health is about more than test results and medications. Mental health, sleep, stress management, and healthy habits all combine to improve our overall health and the health of our hearts. Mental health affects how we handle stress, relate to others, and choices we make. It’s important to take time to combat stress in your life with a positive outlet. Go for a walk, have a nice chat with a good listener, work out..there are many healthy options you can choose from. If you feel the negativity really getting to you, call us, schedule a checkup, let your provider in on how you are feeling. Often we can help..
Aging can cause changes in the heart and blood vessels that may increase a person’s risk of heart disease. As you get older, it’s important for you to have your blood pressure checked regularly, even if you are healthy. You may feel fine but if not treated, high blood pressure could lead to stroke and problems with your heart and other organs. Healthy aging includes keeping any conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol under control with your doctor’s help, staying active, and following a heart-healthy diet.
The American Heart Association National Wear Red Day
Your heart is so important, there’s a whole association about it! The American Heart Association is also working around the clock to advance research against heart disease and stroke, and provide resources to improve lives. On the first Friday of every February, the nation comes together for National Wear Red Day. This annual event unites millions of people for a common goal: the eradication of heart disease and stroke. Check out their website to participate and join in with the wave of red from coast to coast.
Oregon Health DPC is a direct pay doctor that cares about your heart! If you are looking for family primary care in the Portland, Oregon area, give us a call and we would be happy to answer all your questions.