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How Your Heart’s Health Plays a Role

T.E. Vallabhan, MD, FACC

Did you know that after the age of twenty our vascular systems begin to accumulate plaque?  Tiny plaque deposits can embed themselves into our delicate vascular structure throughout our entire bodies.  Over time the sticky plaque can mount up and cause hardening of the arteries, block oxygen-rich blood from reaching our hearts, or cause clots to form and break off.

If we fail to put our health in the forefront, we will very likely be in danger of issues such as a stroke, heart disease, or sudden cardiac arrest.  If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or a family history of vascular disorders, you are at an even higher risk level.  If you smoke, drink too much alcohol, are sedentary, or regularly eat “junk food,” then your risk factors are ultimately elevated.

What can you do?  Notably, you should schedule an exam with your physician to check your vitals and run the appropriate lab tests.  You may need to have other types of testing if your report shows signs of any issues.  Some of these tests may include a Doppler, which is a vascular ultrasound, an MRA, angiogram, or an EKG.

You should always consult with your physician first before embarking on any new diet or exercise program.  Hardening of the arteries cannot be reversed, but with the proper lifestyle changes, and medication, you can enjoy a healthier life and stave off any heart issues through these preventative measures.

High blood pressure has little to no symptoms and is often referred to as the silent killer.  High blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart disease, and sudden cardiac arrest.

It’s imperative to check your blood pressure on a regular basis and ask yourself. How has my blood pressure changed and what does that mean?

Typically the systolic blood pressure (top number) rises with age, while the diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) tends to fall.

A variety of factors can cause changes:
• Age-Related Hormone Changes
• High Salt Intake
• Changes in Walls of Arteries and Blood Vessels

High Systolic Pressure or hypertension may continue to rise with age even if controlled with medication, but you can lower it through exercise, weight loss, healthy eating, and abstinence from tobacco can help maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Low Systolic Pressure:
• Lightheaded or Fainting
• Dehydration
• Blood Loss
• Certain Medications
• Could increase the risk of falls if not controlled
• Evaluate how your medications are making you feel

The American Heart Association has changed their guidelines for blood pressure.  Essentially 120/80 is considered normal.  Anything under those numbers is primarily healthy (but not too low), and anything over is borderline high to dangerously high.

Most individual’s blood pressure can be controlled with diet and exercise, but for those at risk, it’s imperative to take a prescription medication regularly that lowers your blood pressure to safe levels.

However, some medications can cause dizziness.  If you are experiencing any lightheaded, or vertigo symptoms, please speak to your physician about regulating your dosage, or possibly changing your medication altogether.

Why is this important?  If your blood pressure gets too low, it can lead to other health-related issues, and since this is Distracted Driving Month, a dizzy driver can lead to vehicular accidents, injuries, and death.

Each year, nearly 1.6 vehicular accidents take place in the U.S.  When we consider that 750,000 people suffer from a heart attack annually, it puts things into perspective, as we often take driving for granted.  We can become careless without really considering how dangerous the roads can be, especially here in Florida.

Along with our hearts health, this year, let’s also remember that getting behind the wheel is a huge responsibility.  Don’t let a simple thing like distraction or driving while dizzy, unstable or being lightheaded kill you or another innocent bystander.

Tips for keeping your Heart Healthy
• Exercise multiple times per week
• Eat a healthy diet
• Cut down on stress levels
• Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
• Stop smoking
• Get professional help for cutting out narcotics
and other drugs
• Practice relaxation methods
• Get physical examinations and regular checkups
recommendations

Dr. Vallabhan
Rolling Oaks Professional Park
929 N US HWY 441, Suite 201
Lady Lake, FL 32159

352-750-2040

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