Parents, it starts with you. You are the first and most important
influence on the current and future health of your children. The example you set could put your children on a course for a lifetime of healthy living, especially when it comes to heart health. The health risks posed by a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet and
obesity are immediate because heart health matters at any age, even in young children.
Najman, MD, Cardiology at NorthShore, shares some easy ways that parents can set a heart-healthy example for their children while also improving their own health:
Healthy diet. If you want your children to eat fruits and vegetables,
you need to set the example by eating fruits and vegetables yourself. Include your children in the decision making and help guide them by discussing the benefits of the delicious fruits, vegetables and whole grains that you will eat together as a family
every night. If children grow up eating healthy foods together with their parents, eating those same foods as young adults and adults won’t feel strange or difficult at all; those same foods will be what they ate growing up.
Show your children that exercise is important by maintaining a regular workout routine. And, as often as you can, get every member of the family involved in a fun, physical activity. Jog together as a family; ride bikes together as a family; go on a brisk
evening walk together as a family. Children experience the same health benefits of exercise as adults—strong bones and muscles, maintenance of a healthy weight, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and a regular exercise routine reduces one’s
risk for heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and more. Get your kids moving now and they will likely maintain that active lifestyle later in life. Lead by example!
Smoke-Free. If you quit smoking, your kids are less likely to start.
Smoking is more common in teenagers whose parents smoke. If you are still smoking, quit. Secondhand smoke is linked to lung cancer but it also increases the risk of multiple types of cancers, heart disease, diabetes and many other medical issues as well.
Maintain a healthy weight. Today in the U.S., one child out of three is considered obese or overweight. Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, once common health issues encountered only in adulthood, have developed in children as young
as seven. Obese children are also more likely to become obese adults, increasing their risk of developing heart disease later in life. Don’t focus on weight with children; instead, shift to leading a healthy lifestyle as a family. Lifestyle changes
like eating right as a family and exercising can make all the difference.
What do you do to set a heart-healthy example for your children?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and
women. Each year, approximately 600,000 people will die of heart disease, nearly half of them women. And yet many still believe that heart disease is a man’s disease. It’s not.
There are some possible differences, however, between men and
women when it comes to heart disease. Brian Shortal, MD, Cardiologist at NorthShore, discusses these differences and the heart disease
risk factors that are the same for everyone:
Age. Men are considered at cardiovascular risk starting at 40. Women, on the other hand, are considered at cardiac risk starting at 50. That does not mean that women under the age of 50 have
no risk for heart disease, so any symptoms should not be disregarded. The incidence of heart disease between men and women equalizes around 65, and studies then show that women actually begin to surpass heart disease events in comparison to men.
Symptoms. Typically, men exhibit more classic cardiac symptoms, including pain across the chest that radiates down the arms, back and jaw, and shortness of breath. Women might display more atypical symptoms like nausea, vomiting, dizziness
and syncope (fainting/temporary loss of consciousness). In fact, the most common symptom in women over 80 is not chest pain but shortness of breath.
Risk Factors. The risk factors are the same for both men and women. The major
risk factors for coronary artery disease are hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, family history of heart disease, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. If you think you might be at risk, see your physician for more information.
you know your risk for heart disease?
A small but mighty organ, your heart accomplishes amazing feats with every single beat. This American Heart Month, get to know your heart better.
NorthShore University HealthSystem explains the inner workings of your heart and
cardiovascular system and shares simple tips to improve your heart health in our heart health infographic.
Click on the image below for our full infographic of heart health facts:
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women. Genetics, tobacco
use, family history, obesity, an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, stress and diet all contribute to this alarming statistic. Some heart-healthy changes are easier to make than others, but finding a balanced diet that appeals to the entire family, while also
possibly lowering your risk for heart disease, might be easier and more enjoyable than you think.
Many studies have shown that the rates of heart disease as well as certain types of cancer, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
disease were lower for those living in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, researchers have been able to determine that diet played a significant role in keeping the community healthy and living longer. The fundamental components of that diet
are known as the Mediterranean diet plan.
Philip Krause, MD, Interventional Cardiologist at NorthShore, discusses the benefits of a Mediterranean
diet plan and what makes it so great for your heart:
Focuses on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. On a typical American plate, meat is the star. On a Mediterranean diet plate, meat plays second fiddle to fresh fruit, vegetables,
beans and whole grains. When the focus on the meal shifts toward fresh fruits and vegetables, the result is a diet rich in vitamins, antioxidants and fiber.
Puts the salt shaker away. Excessive salt consumption can raise your blood
pressure, which may damage the arteries leading to your heart. And there’s no doubt about it: Americans consume too much salt. The Mediterranean diet diversifies the spice rack, favoring spices and herbs over salt.
Cuts down on red meat.
Red meat is sidelined in favor of proteins that contain healthy fats like fish, poultry and nuts. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can be a very beneficial part of your heart healthy diet plan.
Makes olive oil the main source
of fat. Just say no to butter. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat and this type of fat may help bring high cholesterol levels in the right direction. It also may help regulate insulin levels in those suffering from type 2 diabetes.
for a glass of red wine. This is a great perk for the older adherents of the Mediterranean diet. When consumed in moderation (one four-ounce serving per day), red wine can be beneficial to your heart health by reducing LDL cholesterol levels and increasing
HDL cholesterol levels.
Limits portion sizes and cuts the carbs. Just because the Mediterranean diet plan is healthy doesn’t mean recommended foods can be consumed in unlimited quantities. Watch your portion sizes as you
would with any diet or dish. If both weight loss and heart health are goals, limiting portion sizes along with carbohydrate intake—reducing the consumption of bread, potatoes, rice by 50%—can markedly assist in weight loss.
the Mediterranean diet! Do you? What are your favorite heart-healthy recipes?
NorthShore Hearts (#NSHearts) healthy eating and so should you. The importance
of diet on the health of your heart can’t be overstated. A balanced diet contributes to one’s overall health and wellness, including maintaining weight, but certain foods can significantly improve your heart’s health while others can damage
it. Know the difference and show your heart some love by eating heart healthy foods.
Jason Robin, MD, Cardiology at NorthShore, shares
a few of the best and worst foods for your heart health:
You’re the Best!
You’re the Worst!
Find out what heart healthy tips and stories NorthShore hearts this American Heart Month by following #NSHearts on Facebook and Twitter.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in both men and women, but, for men, on average, high blood pressure starts earlier and heart attacks occur earlier. Men, it’s time to be more proactive about your own health! Whatever your age, it’s never
too early to start taking better care of your heart.
The experts at NorthShore University HealthSystem have created an infographic that explores some surprising facts related to heart disease in men, including how their heart health compares to that of women. Click on the image below to view the
full infographic and also learn how you can begin to improve the condition of your heart with simple men’s health tips.
Let’s put the heart back into February. Aside from Valentine’s Day, this month is a great time to give some heartfelt
attention to our cardiovascular systems. Small changes can be made to your day-to-day routine to help keep your heart in shape.
Hani Salti, MD, shares the following advice for ensuring a healthy heart:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through their
Million Hearts™ Initiative identifies the “ABCS” of improving cardiovascular care: Aspirin for those at risk; Blood pressure control; Cholesterol management; and Smoking cessation.
How do you keep your heart healthy?
So often when we are making meal choices, we don’t skip a beat to think about the health implications our decisions have on our body. Eating
a well-balanced, nutritious diet is one way to stay healthy, and being diligent about making smart choices day-after-day can also help you feel better (both physically and mentally). Along with these benefits, eating right can help reduce your risk of illness
February is Heart Awareness Month and a great time to focus on your cardiovascular health while still enjoying what you eat.
Kimberly Hammon, Registered Dietitian, gives some nutrition tips on eating right for your heart:
Kimberly shares one of her favorite, healthy recipes to get you on track for a healthy heart.
Easy Chicken Pot Pie:
Cook time: 45 minutes
1 2/3 cups frozen mixed vegetables (thawed)
1 cup cooked chicken (cut-up)
1 can low-fat cream of chicken soup (10 ¾ oz )
1 cup reduced-fat baking mix
½ cup low-fat or skim milk
1/6 of Pie: 180 calories, 3 grams of fat, 13 grams of protein, 420 mg sodium.
Source: Texas Cooperative Extension
What is your favorite healthy recipe?
The middle aged man sat cheering his favorite football team. Just after the game while sitting in front of his TV, he felt strange: lightheaded, sweaty, somewhat short of breath. He tried to stand, but felt worse. So he sat and re-gained his composure.
He noted a slight bead of sweat on his brow and felt like he just couldn’t take a full breath in. Other than that, he didn’t feel too bad at first.
So he waited a bit. “Maybe going outside will help,” he thought. He managed to walk outside and did feel a bit better for a while, but when he returned inside, he felt the same. Slowly, nausea overcame him and he had to go to the bathroom and get sick.
Again after that, he felt improved but never felt back to normal.
He waited a bit more and called his wife. He described to her what he was noticing as she googled his symptoms: some 399,478 search results appeared. She read the list to him: heart trouble, stomach trouble, neurological trouble – the possibilities seemed
endless. Uncertain what to do, they finally decided to call their family doctor.
“Do you have any aspirin in the house?” he asked.
They scoured their cabinets. “I can’t believe it!” she said. “No, we can’t find any.”
“Then why don’t you take him over to the Emergency Room right now to get checked out,” the doctor suggested. They thought about it a bit and because his symptoms had not resolved for over an hour and a half, they agreed.
Upon arrival to the emergency room, he was found to have a sustained heart rate of 206 beats per minute at rest – far outside the normal 50-100 beats per minute he should have had. The process to determine the cause and treatment were started immediately
and, gratefully, he left the hospital several days later with his treatment regimen in place.
So why should you care?
Because sometimes, despite all of the information available to all of us these days thanks to news agencies, public service announcements, smartphones, and instant search engines, heart disease can present in unpredictable, unimaginable ways. When it does:
denial is our worst enemy in providing effective treatment.
So if you’re not sure if your symptoms could be caused by your heart, don’t wait. Get it checked out.
More often than not, you’ll be glad you did.
-Wes Fisher, MD
Have questions about heart disease? Join Dr. Brian Shortal, cardiologist for a live
online chat on Thursday, February 23 from 12-1p.m. Submit your questions in advance.
Despite popular belief, heart disease is the leading cause
of death for both men and women in the United States. Women, in many cases, tend to get heart disease 10 years later than men.
While the symptoms of heart attack and heart disease can vary significantly between the two sexes, the recommendations for prevention do not.
Mark Lampert, MD, Cardiologist at NorthShore, shares his insight on what lifestyle changes women (and men) should be mindful of to promote heart health:
Can you relate to the American Heart Association's
Go Red for Women video? What ways are you ensuring your heart is healthy?