February is healthy heart month. Heart disease is the number one killer in both men and women in the United States. People who have high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, are overweight, or have a history of smoking or cardiac conditions in their family are at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Other factors include: not enough physical activity, excessive alcohol use, stress, and not eating a healthy diet. Here are some healthy steps to take to reduce your risk of heart disease.
• Quit smoking – smoking is a major cause of coronary heart disease.
• Maintain a healthy weight – the extra weight puts more pressure on the arterial walls and forces your heart to work harder.
• Reduce stress and look after your mental health. Anxiety and depression can put a strain on the heart.
• Control your cholesterol and blood pressure with diet, exercise, stress reduction, or prescription medication. See November and December 2019 Wellness Corner.
• Stay physically active – The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week. See January 2020 Wellness Corner.
• Get enough sleep. Research has shown a lack of sleep can lower the metabolism, making it harder to lose weight and increases the risk of developing high blood pressure. See March 2019 Wellness Corner.
• Eat nutritious foods and moderate proportions – eat foods that contain healthy fats from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. Avoid foods high in salt, saturated fat, and sugar. Avoid butters, red meat, cheese, and baked goods.
• Get yearly checkups.
About Shima: Shima graduated from the University of Arkansas with a BS in Microbiology in 1997 and worked at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences with the Infectious Disease Department on clinical trials for over 4 years. She then pursued a career change and graduated with her Doctorate degree from St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 2007. During her years enrolled in pharmacy school she worked part-time at St. Louis University, where she helped design a laboratory protocol for the BCG Vaccine Study, which received full funding in 2011.
Shima joined Sinks and Medley Pharmacy in September of 2014 as a pharmacist. She continually strives to focus on improving outcomes and raising the quality of life for patients with all types of medical ailments and conditions.