Keeping Your Heart Healthy

Heart Disease Affects Younger People Today

Are you at risk of heart disease? It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women, accounting for one in every four deaths, and is now striking younger people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So even if you think you’re too young to worry about heart disease, the reality is that increasing rates of obesity and high blood pressure in younger people means you do need to pay attention to things like diet, exercise, sleep and stress levels — whatever your age.

What are the danger signs?

Everybody knows feeling pressure or pain in the chest is a sign to seek immediate medical help. But symptoms also can include discomfort or pain in places like the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach, according to the American Heart Association. Shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat or lightheadedness are also possible signs. Women should be aware heart attacks may present differently for them, and should seek attention if they have any of the symptoms listed. Women are less likely to feel chest pressure, and more likely to feel the other symptoms, to faint, or to feel extreme fatigue.

What can you do for yourself?

First of all, remember heart disease is preventable. Follow these tips from the American Heart Association:

• Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to learn your personal risk for heart disease.

• Quit smoking. Did you know that just one year after you quit, you’ll cut your risk of coronary heart disease by 50 percent?

• Start an exercise program. Just walking 30 minutes a day can lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.

• Improve your diet, focusing on heart-healthy meals.

How can Culbertson help your heart?

If you need a bit of inspiration to encourage you, February is American Heart Month. You can celebrate it not with a box of chocolates but with making any necessary changes to your lifestyle to help keep your heart healthy. Need some help coming up with a more heart-healthy diet? Book an appointment for a Nutrition Consultation. Are you having regular annual exams with your primary care provider? If you don’t already have a primary care provider, choose one at whichever of our clinics is most convenient for you and book an appointment.

Can Culbertson provide custom heart rehab?

Culbertson’s Cardiac Rehabilitation program includes exercise and education, and all the monitoring is done by nurses. Your program is individually designed especially for you. You will likely attend rehab classes two or three times a week, which each hour-long session including warming up, stretching, exercising and cooling down. The exercise equipment includes treadmills, rowing machines, arm ergo meters, stationary bicycles, free weights and more. Our computerized equipment will monitor your condition throughout each session and will help our staff know exactly how your heart is responding to the exercise. For most patients, the program runs eight -12 weeks.

What if my family member wants to join me?

For years, the cardiopulmonary department focused on helping our cardiac and pulmonary clients regain their health through a monitored exercise program. During that time, many of our clients stated other members of their family would benefit greatly from a similar exercise program and so we established our Partners for Life Program. The program is open to all spouses, significant others or siblings of current cardiopulmonary patients. A physician authorization and complete evaluation process is required.

How can I reach the Cardiopulmonary Department? Call us at 217-322-4321, ext. 5285.